Pretreatment nausea in cancer chemotherapy: A conditioned response?

109 Scopus citations


Many patients receiving cancer chemotherapy become nauseated as they anticipate their treatments. We studied this phenomenon in eighteen cancer chemotherapy patients. The eight patients who reported pretreatment nausea had more extensive disease than the other patients and had received twice as much chemotherapy. In most cases pretreatment nausea developed only after a number of months of treatment. Nausea was usually precipitated by the odor of the clinic and similar odors elsewhere also caused nausea. Patients continued to experience nausea during follow-up visits after treatment was completed. This syndrome of pretreatment nausea can be understood as a classically conditioned response. Clinical recommendations can be made on this basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-36
Number of pages4
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Nesse, R., Carli, T., Curtis, G. C., & Kleinman, P. D. (1980). Pretreatment nausea in cancer chemotherapy: A conditioned response? Psychosomatic Medicine, 42(1), 33-36.