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Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool in children and adolescents with high-risk malignancies: a pilot study
  1. Sarah Szepetowski1,
  2. Paul Saultier1,
  3. Nicolas Andre1,
  4. Vanessa Pauly2,3,
  5. L. Lee Dupuis4,
  6. Lillian Sung4 and
  7. Gabriel Revon-Rivière1,5
  1. 1 Pediatric Oncology, Hôpital de la Timone, Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  2. 2 Public Health Department, Hôpital de la Conception, Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  3. 3 Health Services Research and Quality of Life Center, Faculté de Médecine Secteur Timone, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  4. 4 Division of Haematology/Oncology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5 Pediatric Palliative Care Team, Hôpital de la Timone, Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah Szepetowski, Pediatric Oncology, Hôpital de la Timone, Marseille, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France; sarah.szepetowski{at}


Objective Childhood and adolescent cancer can result in high burden of distressing symptoms, particularly in high-risk malignancies. The Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi) is a reliable and valid approach to measure bothersome symptoms in paediatric patients receiving cancer treatments. Objective was to describe the feasibility of using SSPedi administration among paediatric patients with high-risk malignancies.

Methods We conducted a single-centre, cross-sectional study of patients aged 8–18 years with high-risk malignancies in a French paediatric oncology unit. Patients self-reported the degree of bothersome symptoms using SSPedi and difficulty with SSPedi completion. The total SSPedi Score ranging from 0 to 60 (where 60 is worst) and most common moderately bothersome symptoms (scored ≥2 on 0–4 Likert Scale) were described. Feasibility was defined as more than 75% of patients agreeing to participate and more than 90% completion of SSPedi questionnaire.

Results Out of 16 patients approached, 1 declined participation. Median age was 13 years (IQR 8–19). All were able to self-report SSPedi without difficulty. Patients experienced a median number of 6 (range 0–15) bothersome symptoms (score >0). The mean total SSPedi Score was 12 (SD=9.4). Most common moderately bothersome symptoms were pain (8/15), changes in hunger (8/15) and feeling tired (7/15).

Conclusion Patient-reported symptom assessment among children and adolescents with high-risk malignancies is feasible using SSPedi. These patients experience a high burden of bothersome symptoms.

  • cancer
  • end of life care
  • pain
  • paediatrics
  • supportive care
  • symptoms and symptom management

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it first published. The provenance and peer review statement has been included.

  • Contributors SS, GR-R and NA contributed to the conception of the work. SS and GR-R contributed to data collection. All authors contributed to data analysis and interpretation, drafting of the manuscript, critical revision of the article and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.