A comparison of patient-reported side effects among three chemotherapy regimens for breast cancer.

D. Greene, L. M. Nail, V. K. Fieler, D. Dudgeon, L. S. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Patient's perceptions of side effects and the influence of treatment on daily activities are important considerations in choosing a chemotherapy regimen. However, there are no studies comparing patients' experiences with three commonly used chemotherapy regimens for breast cancer. The authors compared the patient-reported side effects and disruption in usual activities for cyclophosphamide and fluorouracil combined with methotrexate (CMF), doxorubicin (CAF), or mitoxantrone (CNF) in 86 women receiving treatment for breast cancer. The incidence and severity of side effects and disruption in usual activities were recorded by patients in a self-care diary (SCD) 2 and 5 days after the first and second drug cycles. Patients reported a mean of 3.2 to 4.9 side effects at each point in time. Fatigue, nausea, anorexia, taste changes, and headache were the most frequently reported side effects and did not differ in incidence among the three drug regimens. When repeated measures analysis of covariance was conducted using mean substitution for missing data and controlling for stage of disease, women receiving CAF reported more severe nausea than women receiving CMF or CNF (P < 0.05). Fatigue was significant for time; however, a distinct clinical pattern of fatigue was not apparent. Patients reported moderate levels of disruption in activities of daily living, with those receiving CAF having greater disruption. There was no difference among treatment groups in reports of overall disruption in activities. These data on patient reported experiences with side effects of chemotherapy can be used to prepare patients for specific side effects of treatment and facilitate symptom management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalCancer practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Oncology


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