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May 21, 1982

Manual promotes self-care for chemotherapy's effects

JAMA. 1982;247(19):2655-2656. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320440007003

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Would patients with cancer be better able to cope with the side effects of chemotherapy if they knew more about their drugs, the side effects they cause, and techniques for managing them at home? Marilyn Dodd, RN, PhD, professor of nursing, University of California, San Francisco, thinks so, and says that a pair of studies she conducted in Detroit and San Francisco have confirmed her beliefs.

While a doctoral candidate at Wayne State University, Detroit, Dodd worked privately as a nurse practitioner with cancer patients who had been discharged from hospitals and were receiving chemotherapy. "They were being sent home with no idea of 'What can I do for myself when I get sick?'" she said.

To investigate the situation further, Dodd wrote to the nation's 19 comprehensive cancer centers, seeking patient information. She received in return "random sheets of little notes containing information that was badly dated, global, and