Donna Berry on Symptom Distress and Adherence

July 27, 2012
Donna Berry, PhD, RN

Donna L. Berry, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, on Symptom Distress and Oral Therapy Adherence.

Donna L. Berry, PhD, RN, AOCN, FAAN, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Director, The Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Nursing Research, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, discusses a study that examined the relationship between symptom distress and adherence to oral chemotherapy or hormonal therapy that is taken at home.

The study enrolled 77 patients with a range of cancer diagnoses and found that as symptom distress increased, adherence decreased. Inversely, those reporting low symptom distress reported perfect adherence to therapy.

Berry notes that the findings from the study stress the importance of proper patient education and appropriate symptom management. Teaching a patient how to deal with the side effects of oral therapy may help improve adherence.