Consensus Recommendations From the Children’s Oncology Group Nursing Discipline’s State of the Science Symposium: Symptom Assessment During Childhood Cancer Treatment

Academic Article


  • Background: Recognizing and addressing illness-related distress has long been a priority for pediatric oncology nurses and the Children’s Oncology Group. Although symptoms are known to be highly prevalent during treatment for childhood cancer, there is currently no guidance for how often symptoms should be assessed, which symptoms should be prioritized for assessment, and how the data should be collected. Methods: The Nursing Discipline, within Children’s Oncology Group, hosted a one-day Interprofessional seminar titled “Symptom Assessment During Childhood Cancer Treatment: State of the Science Symposium.” Following the symposium, an expert panel was assembled to review all available evidence, including information presented and collected during the symposium. Consensus-building discussions were held to identify common themes and to produce recommendations for clinical practice. Results: Four recommendations emerged including (1) the identification of priority “core” symptoms for assessment; (2) inclusion of the child’s voice through self-report, when possible; (3) consistent documentation and communication of symptom assessment results; and (4) implementation of patient/family education related to symptoms. Discussion: Symptom recognition, through appropriate assessment, is the first step in symptom management. The goal for developing and sharing these recommendations is to promote consistent and comparable clinical practice across institutions in regard to symptom assessment during childhood cancer therapy. Integration of these recommendations will set the stage for future studies related to the frequency of symptoms across disease groups, projection of anticipated symptom trajectories, development of evidence-based teaching tools for common symptoms, and evaluation of patient outcomes with enhanced symptom assessment and management.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Withycombe JS; Haugen M; Zupanec S; Macpherson CF; Landier W
  • Start Page

  • 294
  • End Page

  • 299
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 4