Background: This study aimed to assess the most common physical side effects experienced by local chemotherapy patients. Their perceptions of these side effects and informational needs from clinical pharmacists were also evaluated. Materials and
Methods: This was a single-center, cross-sectional study. A face-to-face interview guided by a structured questionnaire with cancer patients admitted to receive repeated cycles of chemotherapy was conducted. Information collected included chemotherapy-related side effects after last chemotherapy experience, the most worrisome side effects, the side effects overlooked by healthcare professionals and the preferred method, amount and source of receiving related information.
Results: Of 99 patients recruited, 90 participated in this survey (response rate: 90.9%). The majority were in the age range of 45-64 years (73.3%) and female (93.3%). Seventy-five (83.3%) and seventy-one (78.9%) experienced nausea and vomiting, respectively. Both symptoms were selected as two of the most worrisome side effects (16.7% vs. 33.3%). Other common andworrisome side effects were hair loss and loss of appetite. Symptoms caused by peripheral neuropathies were perceived as the major symptoms being overlooked (6.7%). Most patients demanded information about side effects (60.0%) and they would like to receive as much information as possible (86.7%). Oral conversation(83.3%) remained as the preferred method and the clinical pharmacist was preferred by 46.7% of patients as the educator in this aspect.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of chemotherapy-related side effects among local patients is of concern. Findings of their perceptions and informational needs may serve as a valuable guide for clinical pharmacists to help in side effect management in Malaysia.