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Table 2 Prevalence and intensity of symptoms as rated by patients and health care providers

From: Health care providers underestimate symptom intensities of cancer patients: A multicenter European study

   Symptom assessments Wilcoxon signed-rank testa
Intensity None Mild Moderate Severe Total  
Absolute number (%) N (%) N (%) N (%) N (%) N  
Pain Patient 124 (6.4) 508 (26.4) 799 (41.5) 492 (25.6) 1923 -18.5 b
  Provider 253 (13.1) 761 (39.5) 691 (35.8) 223 (11.6) 1928  
Fatigue c Patient 142 (7.4) 423 (21.9) 634 (32.8) 731 (37.9) 1930 -18.3 b
  Provider 230 (11.9) 661 (34.3) 741 (38.5) 294 (15.3) 1926  
Generalized weakness Patient 153 (8.0) 517 (27.0) 712 (37.1) 536 (27.9) 1918 -16.1 b
  Provider 281 (14.6) 740 (38.3) 635 (32.9) 275 (14.2) 1931  
Anorexia Patient 510 (26.5) 504 (26.2) 477 (24.8) 432 (22.5) 1923 -20.2 b
  Provider 910 (47.4) 535 (27.9) 322 (16.8) 154 (8.0) 1921  
Depression Patient 639 (33.4) 683 (35.7) 397 (20.8) 192 (10.0) 1911 -16.8 b
  Provider 966 (50.1) 644 (33.4) 263 (13.6) 57 (3.0) 1930  
Constipation Patient 583 (30.3) 476 (24.8) 471 (24.5) 392 (20.4) 1911 -17.2 b
  Provider 856 (44.4) 487 (25.3) 393 (20.4) 192 (10.0) 1928  
Poor sleep Patient 735 (38.2) 572 (29.7) 409 (21.2) 209 (10.9) 1925 -13.8 b
  Provider 976 (50.8) 554 (28.8) 309 (16.1) 84 (4.4) 1923  
Dyspnea Patient 801 (41.7) 552 (28.7) 362 (18.8) 208 (10.8) 1923 -18.5 b
  Provider 1199 (62.1) 414 (21.5) 219 (11.3) 98 (5.1) 1930  
Nausea Patient 871 (45.2) 530 (27.5) 342 (17.7) 184 (9.5) 1927 -18.0 b
  Provider 1222 (63.3) 439 (22.7) 207 (10.7) 62 (3.2) 1930  
Vomiting Patient 1317 (68.3) 351 (18.2) 161 (8.4) 99 (5.1) 1928 -16.2 b
  Provider 1635 (84.7) 182 (9.4) 83 (4.3) 30 (1.6) 1930  
Diarrhea Patient 1334 (69.6) 313 (16.3) 183 (9.5) 88 (4.6) 1918 -16.5 b
  Provider 1664 (86.2) 157 (8.1) 84 (4.4) 26 (1.3) 1931  
  1. aWilcoxon signed-rank test calculations are based on rankings of the differences found by subtracting the patient's symptom score from the provider's symptom score. For all symptoms, the sum of the negative difference ranks was larger than the positive difference ranks indicating that health care providers tend to underestimate symptom intensity compared to patients.
  2. bp < 0.001
  3. c Fatigue was originally assessed in EORTC QLQ-C30 with a scale ranging from 0 to 100. To ensure comparability with the four-point fatigue item assessed by providers, the fatigue scale was recoded into a four-point scale with increasing symptom intensity from 1 to 4: 0-24 was recoded into 1, 25-49 was recoded into 2, 50-74 was recoded into 3 and 75-100 was recoded into 4.