Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is a public health emergency and raises the issue of psychological and physical resilience in more vulnerable patients. We investigated the emotional impact of the SARS-CoV-2 spread among cancer patients, followed at our Institution in Italy, after the restrictive measures imposed by the government and the disruption of planned clinical activities.
Methods: From March 18th to April 1st, 2020, we conducted an online survey among cancer patients (Group 1: with advanced/metastatic disease undergoing systemic treatment; Group 2: with metastatic thyroid cancer in active surveillance; and Group 3: patients with no evidence of structural disease in standard follow-up), sending by email two questionnaires: the COVID-19 questionnaire,specifically designed by our team for the public health emergency ongoing, and an online version of the validated Italian translation of the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire.
Results: The overall COVID-19 concernedness score was higher in women than in men (8 [IQR 5–9] vs 6 [IQR 5–8]; P = 0.048), and in younger (< 65 years) than in older ones (≥ 65 years) (8 [IQR 5–9] vs 6 [IQR 4–8]; P = 0.013), without differences across cancer identified groups. The score had a strong inverse correlation with the EORTC QLQ-C30 Emotional function subscale (rho –0.69; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Patients with cancer (even if long-standing and well-controlled) report negative feelings and fear, independently from their actual need for medical care and from the seriousness of their disease. As physicians, we should reinforce patients’ education and address all these worries, to provide the best possible high-value care.
Keywords: COVID-19,cancer care, quality of life, emotional outbreak
05 Sep 2020 - 09 Sep 2020