This tool is designed to assist in the assessment of nine symptoms common in cancer patients: pain, tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, appetite, wellbeing and shortness of breath (there is also a line labeled "Other problem").
The severity at the time of assessment of each symptom is rated from 0 to 10 on a numerical scale, 0 meaning that the symptom is absent and 10 that it is of the worst possible severity.
The patient and family should be taught how to complete the scales. It is the patient's opinion of the severity of the symptoms that is the "gold standard" for symptom assessment.
The ESAS provides a clinical profile of symptom severity over time. It provides a context within which symptoms can begin to be understood.
The revised Edmonton Symptom Assessment System Revised (ESAS-r) replaces the ESAS.
Watanabe SM, Nekolaichuk C, Beaumont C, Johnson L, Myers J, Strasser F. A multi-centre comparison of two numerical versions of the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System in palliative care patients J Pain Symptom Manage 2011; 41:456-468.