Purpose/Objectives: To critically evaluate and synthesize multidisciplinary research related to hot flashes in the context of cancer. Topics include the definition, scope, and impact of hot flashes; physiologic mechanisms; and measurement issues. Data Sources: Published, peer-reviewed articles and textbooks; editorials; unpublished data; and computerized databases. Data Synthesis: Hot flashes can affect a diverse group of men and women diagnosed with or at high risk for certain cancers with a resulting negative impact on quality of life. Although the exact physiologic mechanisms underlying hot flashes remain unclear, a complex interplay of thermoregulatory, gluconeuroendocrine, genetic, and behavioral factors appears to be Involved. Measurement of hot flashes should be considered carefully because they can be operationalized objectively and subjectively. Conclusions: The large and diverse evidence base and current national attention on measurement of hot flashes highlight the importance of the symptom to healthcare professionals, including oncology nurses. Implications for Nursing: Careful attention to assessment and measurement of hot flashes in patients with cancer is needed.
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