Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate symptom severity in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients prior to gefitinib treatment and at 1-, 3- and 6-month intervals after starting treatment. Methodology: Fifty seven patients completed the Taiwanese version of the M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics, the Friedman non-parametric test, and Pearson correlation coefficients. Results: Symptoms of nausea, difficulty remembering, lack of appetite, sadness, and vomiting increased at 1 month after treatment started, pain and shortness of breath increased at 3 months, and disturbed sleep, drowsiness, and numbness increased after 6 months. Fatigue and dry mouth increased at 3 months after treatment started and then decreased. Only distress decreased throughout the course of treatment. Conclusion: The findings may lead to the development of better clinical guidelines and improved information for patients on when to expect the greatest impact from their symptoms during the course of treatment.
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