News | Radiation Therapy | December 10, 2020

A new study finds that significant symptoms in young and Black patients are more likely to be under-recognized

A new study finds that significant symptoms in young and Black patients are more likely to be under-recognized

Getty Images


December 10, 2020 — Physicians did not recognize side effects from radiation therapy in more than half of breast cancer patients who reported a significant symptom, a new study finds.

The study compared reports from 9,941 patients from practices across the state of Michigan who received radiation therapy following lumpectomy. Patients filled out standard symptom reporting tools for four common side effects during their radiation treatment: pain, itchy skin, swelling and fatigue. At the same time, physicians assessed patients' symptoms using a standardized tool called the Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events.

Researchers compared these two sets of symptom reports and found incidences where physicians reported no issue even though patients reported substantial concerns. This under-recognition occurred in 31% of patients reporting pain, 37% of patients with itchy skin, 51% of patients with swelling and 19% of patients with fatigue.

"Physicians sometimes miss when their patients are having substantial symptoms. Recognizing side effects is critical for physicians to provide supportive care to help patients manage their symptoms," said study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., Newman Family Professor and deputy chair of radiation oncology at Michigan Medicine.

Jagsi will present the findings at the 2020 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The study included 29 practices throughout Michigan as part of the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium, a collaborative quality initiative funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Care Network.

The study found that side effects were more likely to be missed in younger patients and Black patients, suggesting that better methods to detect symptoms in these patients could help reduce disparities in patient experiences and outcomes.

"If physicians are less likely to pick up on symptoms that Black patients are experiencing, this might help explain why their symptoms become so severe and also might guide us toward interventions to reduce race-based disparities in experiences of cancer treatment," said Jagsi, a member of the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.

The team proposes additional research to understand why certain populations are more likely to have their symptoms missed and how to overcome any issues of misconceptions or mistrust between patients and providers.

"Patient-reported outcomes provide an important complement to physician evaluations. Improving symptom detection may be a targetable mechanism to reduce disparities in cancer treatment experiences and outcomes, at least in the setting of breast radiation therapy," Jagsi said.

For more information: www.med.umich.edu


Related Content

News | Radiation Therapy

December 8, 2022 — A newly updated clinical guideline from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) provides ...

Time December 08, 2022
arrow
News | RSNA

December 3, 2022 — Results from its Orviglance Food Effect study were presented by Ascelia Pharma, a biopharmaceutical ...

Time December 03, 2022
arrow
News | Prostate Cancer

December 2, 2022 — Blue Earth Diagnostics, a Bracco company and recognized leader in the development and ...

Time December 02, 2022
arrow
News | Mammography

November 29, 2022 — One in five women is likely to forgo additional testing after an abnormal finding on a screening ...

Time November 29, 2022
arrow
News | Mammography

November 28, 2022 — The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has announced the launch of the RSNA Screening ...

Time November 28, 2022
arrow
News | Radiation Oncology

November 28, 2022 — Dunlee unveiled its new oncology bundles in the U.S. for the first time at Radiological Society of ...

Time November 28, 2022
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

November 28, 2022 — Flywheel, a leading data management platform for biomedical research and collaboration, is creating ...

Time November 28, 2022
arrow
News | RSNA | By Christine Book

November 27, 2022 — Among dozens of technical exhibit visits, informative discussions, and captivating Plenary Session ...

Time November 27, 2022
arrow
News | Breast Imaging

November 25, 2022 — Hologic, Inc. will exhibit its extensive portfolio of breast and skeletal health products at the ...

Time November 25, 2022
arrow
News | Artificial Intelligence

November 25, 2022 — Delphinus Medical Technologies has announced the installation of its SoftVue 3D Whole Breast ...

Time November 25, 2022
arrow
Subscribe Now