Symptom research among Latinas with breast cancer is limited—especially as it relates to multiple co-occurring symptoms.
The aim of the study was to identify subgroups (latent classes) of Latinas who have distinct symptom profiles while receiving radiation, chemotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy for breast cancer.
This secondary analysis included intake data from three randomized trials of supportive care psychosocial interventions for Latinas treated for breast cancer (n = 290). Prevalence of 12 symptoms—measured using the General Symptom Distress Scale—was entered into the latent class analysis to identify classes of women with different symptom profiles.
Most of the participants had Stage II or III disease, and 81% reported receiving chemotherapy. On average, women reported 4.2 (standard deviation [SD] = 3) symptoms with an overall symptom distress score of 6.4 (SD = 2.5) on a 1–10 scale, with 10 being most distressing. Latent class analysis resulted in three classes that were labeled based on symptoms with the highest prevalence. Class 1 (n = 192) was “Disrupted Sleep and Tired,” Class 2 (n = 74) was “Tired,” and Class 3 (n = 24) was “Pain, Disrupted Sleep, and Tired.” Depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating had moderate prevalence in each of the three classes.
Beyond the core six symptoms (depression, anxiety, fatigue, pain, disrupted sleep, difficulty concentration), the classes differed in the prevalence of other burdensome symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, constipation), which provide implications for treatment. Thus, it is important to assess for the full range of symptoms so that supportive care interventions can be tailored for the distinct symptom profiles of Latinas with breast cancer.