Main Article Content
This descriptive study aimed to describe experience of taste and smell alterations and their management strategies among children with cancer receiving chemotherapy on Day 1 prior to receiving chemotherapy and on Days 4, 7 and 10 after receiving chemotherapy. The sample comprised 65 children with cancer aged between 7 and 15 years. The conceptual framework was based on the symptom management model proposed by Dodd et al. (2001). The data were collected using 1) the Demographic Data Form, and 2) the Symptom Experience of Taste and Smell Alterations Among Children with Cancer Receiving Chemotherapy Scale. The internal consistency reliability of the second questionnaire was tested using Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient and Intraclass Correlation Coefficient, yielding a value of 0.80 and ranging from 0.97 to 0.98 respectively. The data were analyzed using frequency and percentage.
The results revealed that Twenty-three from 65 participants (35.4%) perceived taste and smell alterations before and after receiving chemotherapy at Days 4, 7, and 10. They perceived taste, smell, and both taste and smell alterations at the highest level at Day 4 after receiving chemotherapy. Their taste or smell perceptions were decreased at Days 7 and 10, respectively whereas both taste and smell perceptions were not altered at Days 7 and 10. After stimulation by food, drink, and medications at Days 4, 7, and 10; 12,
5, and 3 participants perceived the most and increased bitter taste alteration. In terms of smell alteration; 3, 13, 3, and 2 participants perceived smell better before and after receiving chemotherapy at Days 4, 7, and 10. In case of no stimulants; 2, 12, 3, and 4 participants perceived bitter/metallic taste before and after receiving chemotherapy at Days 4, 7, and 10. The participants reported their symptom experience of taste and smell alterations before and after receiving chemotherapy at a low level. Among the responses to symptom experience of taste alteration; 2 in 3 cases still had normal appetite, all of them ate less before receiving chemotherapy. Among the responses to symptom experience of smell alteration, 2 in 3 cases felt low appetite and all of them ate less. After receiving chemotherapy, most of participants felt less appetite and ate less.
The results of this study may help health care providers to better understand the symptom experience of taste and smell alterations among children with cancer receiving chemotherapy. Healthcare providers can use these results to further develop the effectiveness of the taste and smell alterations nursing management strategies for children with cancer.