COVID-19 bears heavy on cancer survivors
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic aggravates psychological symptoms among cancer survivors, reports a recent China study.
Researchers conducted a longitudinal investigation of 111 cancer survivors (mean age, 56.60±9.2 years; 50.5 percent male) and their families. Psychological symptoms were assessed using the online symptom checklist 90 (SCL-90), which was accomplished thrice: 14–24 February (T1), 1–10 April (T2), and 15–25 May (T3). Nineteen survivors or families dropped out throughout the course of the study.
The mean SCL-90 scores for survivors decreased with time. At T1, T2, and T3, the scores were 172.05±13.30, 155.9±12.18, and 142.75±11.56, respectively. The downward trend was significant, such that pairwise comparisons yielded statistical differences.
In comparison, SCL-90 scores of family members at each time point were 142.76±16.80, 133.42±15.93, and 130.14±14.16, respectively. In all instances, family members had significantly lower scores than the survivors (p<0.01 for all).
Notably, when compared against normal conditions, survivors and their family members showed significantly aggravated psychological symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At T3, for example, the mean survivor total SCL-90 score of 142.75±11.56 remained significantly greater than the norm score of 130.60±34.28 (p<0.01). This was especially true for T1 and T2, when psychological symptoms among survivors were worse.
Notably, such an effect remained significant for all subdomains of the SCL-90, across all three timepoints. The only exceptions were in the psychoticism and obsessive-compulsive domains during the final survey.