Nausea, Pain, Fatigue, and Multiple Symptoms in Hospitalized Children With Cancer

Oncology Nursing Forum, 09/07/2011

Miller E et al. – Nausea, pain, and fatigue were among the most prevalent symptoms in hospitalized children with cancer; however, the most prevalent symptoms were not always the most severe or distressing. The presence of these symptoms significantly impacted symptom experience, including total burden of symptoms experienced by the child (i.e., global distress).


  • Descriptive design with repeated measures.
  • Inpatient pediatric hematology-oncology unit.
  • 39 inpatients (ages 10-17) diagnosed with cancer.
  • Five-day data collection using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS) Pediatric 10-18.
  • Thirty-one symptoms included in the MSAS Pediatric 10-18.


  • The most common symptoms (prevalence greater than 34%) were nausea, fatigue, decreased appetite, pain, and feeling drowsy.
  • Differences in symptom experiences occurred in the presence of nausea, pain, and fatigue compared to days when they were not reported (p < 0.001).
  • Prevalence of pain and fatigue symptoms decreased over the five days (p < 0.05), but not nausea (p > 0.05).

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