Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Cancer and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

A systematic review of symptom assessment scales in children with cancer

L Lee Dupuis1234, Marie-Chantal Ethier2, Deborah Tomlinson2, Tanya Hesser2 and Lillian Sung23*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacy, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada

2 Program in Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada

3 Division of Haematology/Oncology, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada

4 Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Cancer 2012, 12:430  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-430

Published: 26 September 2012

Abstract

Background

The objective was to describe symptom assessment scales that have been used in children with cancer.

Methods

We conducted electronic searches of OVID Medline and EMBASE in order to identify all symptom assessment scales that have been used in pediatric cancer. Two reviewers abstracted information from each identified study. Data collected included study demographics and information related to the instrument and children enrolled. We also collected information about the purpose of instrument administration and whether treatment was altered as a result of this information.

Results

Fourteen studies were identified which evaluated eight different symptom assessment scales. Eight studies used child self-report and all studies included children on active treatment for cancer although 4 studies also included children following completion of treatment. The most common purpose of instrument administration was to measure the prevalence of symptom burden (nā€‰=ā€‰8). None of the 14 studies used the scale to screen for symptoms and none changed patient management on the basis of identified symptoms.

Conclusions

We failed to identify any symptom assessment scales that were used as a symptom screening tool. There is a need to develop such a tool for use in children with cancer.

Keywords:
Symptom; Screening; Assessment; Scale; Children; Cancer