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How Your Symptoms Matter Can Help You

Your Symptoms Matter is a tool used to tell your healthcare team about how you are feeling. When your healthcare team knows about your symptoms, they can give you treatments and advice to help you manage them. You can use this tool before, during and after your cancer treatment.

The tool asks you to rate 9 symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Tiredness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Wellbeing

You might be asked about other symptoms depending on what type of cancer you have.

How Your Symptoms Matter Can Benefit Your Care

Filling out Your Symptoms Matter can help you and your healthcare team to:

  • notice and treat symptoms early on
  • talk about symptoms that matter to you
  • track your symptoms over time to figure out what may be causing them or any changes in them
  • choose the best treatment and medications for your symptoms

When your symptoms are well managed you can:

  • keep more of your regular routines
  • do the things that are important to you
  • keep up your strength so that you can continue with your treatments

Example of How It Works

  1. Mary rated her shortness of breath high on the Your Symptoms Matter form. Mary’s shortness of breath rating showed her healthcare team that it is a problem for her.
  2. Mary and her healthcare team talked about her shortness of breath and how to treat it.
  3. Mary’s healthcare team gave her some breathing exercises to help. The healthcare team also gave Mary an appointment with a breathing specialist to help her feel better.

Where to Fill Out Your Symptoms Matter

Ask staff at your clinic to find out where you can fill out Your Symptoms Matter.

How to Fill Out Your Symptoms Matter

  • When you open Your Symptoms Matter, you will see 9 symptoms listed with the numbers 0 to 10 below each of them.
  • For each symptom, choose a number between 0 and 10 that best describes how you are feeling.
  • A score of 0 means you do not have any symptoms. A score of 10 means that your symptom is at its very worst.
  • It is important to be honest and tell your healthcare team exactly how you feel. If your healthcare team does not know about your symptoms, they may not know that you need help.
  • It is best to do Your Symptoms Matter yourself if you are able. If someone is helping you, make sure they describe how you really feel not how they think you feel.This might prevent you from getting the help you need.

The pain scale, from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain possible). Select the number that best describes how you feel NOW.
The pain symptom rating question from Your Symptoms Matter

If You Have No Symptoms

  • Even if you don’t have symptoms you should still fill out Your Symptoms Matter.
  • If you start to have symptoms later, your healthcare team may look back at Your Symptoms Matter ratings over time to try to figure out what caused the change.

After Filling Out Your Symptoms Matter

  • Your healthcare team should talk to you about Your Symptoms Matter either before your clinic appointment or together with you during your appointment.
  • If your healthcare team does not bring it up with you, talk to them about your symptoms. Let them know you filled out Your Symptoms Matter.

How Your Symptom Ratings Are Stored

  • In some clinics, your ratings will be saved in your health record. Your health record is where your medical information is stored.
  • Cancer Care Ontario also stores your symptom ratings. This information helps in planning for a better cancer system.
  • Your information is kept private and will not be shared with anyone.

How to Review or Change Your Past Symptom Ratings

Talk to a member of your healthcare team if you would like to see or change your past symptom ratings.

How to Stop Sharing Your Personal Symptom Ratings

  • Your personal symptom ratings are personal health information
  • If you no longer want to share your ratings through Your Symptoms Matter then your hospital can remove your information from the system.
  • The hospital may keep a copy of your information according to their hospital’s policy.
  • Contact your hospital's registration desk for more information.

Your Symptoms Matter is Available in More Than 30 Languages

Ask a clinic staff member if you would like to fill out Your Symptoms Matter in a language other than English or French.

If You Have Questions

If you have any questions about Your Symptoms Matter, please ask a clinic staff member or someone on your healthcare team.

By reporting my symptoms through Your Symptoms Matter, I got the help I needed. My doctor was able to help me with the pain and extreme fatigue by referring me to a program. I also got to see a social worker who helped me deal with my depression and anxiety.

Joanne, Patient Family Advisor