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Examining Self-Reported Symptoms in Patients With Multiple Myeloma

Joshua R. Richter, MD
Published Online:7:40 PM, Wed April 18, 2018

Joshua R. Richter, MD, a hematologist/oncologist at John Theurer Cancer Center, discusses results from the Living with Cancer patient-reported outcomes (PROs) tool, which is a survey to record self-reported symptoms from patients. Richter used this tool to survey 239 patients with multiple myeloma on their symptoms and psychological distress.

The PROs tool identifies 4 different domains of personhood: performance status, burden, pain, and depression. The patients are asked questions, and then individually weight their response to each question, which is helpful in discovering what is of most importance to each patient. One might experience pain a lot of the time, while it is not very meaningful to their daily life, while another patient could experience little pain that they do consider meaningful to their life. 

Results found that patients with multiple myeloma who reported higher distress in this survey tended to have worse outcomes, but the results were not statistically significant. Results are in support, though, of putting power back into the patient’s hands. End-of-life discussions are often incredibly difficult for physicians, but this test shows that the decision is best made by the patient.
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