Washington D.C.: Study says, it’s not only health, cancer has a major impact on your mental wellbeing.
The study has been reported at the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress in Singapore. Results from a Malaysian study of 1,362 patients found more than four in five survivors were suffering from anxiety and a similar number had depression a year after diagnosis.
Lead author Shridevi Subramaniam said, “We urgently need new ways of supporting cancer survivors and addressing wider aspects of wellbeing.”
“Instead of just focusing on clinical outcome, doctors must focus equally on quality of life for cancer patients especially psychologically, financially and socially,” Subramaniam explained.
Researchers included Malaysian patients from the ACTION study (ASEAN Cost in Oncology Study) and nearly a third (33 percent) had breast cancer. They filled in questionnaires to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Anxiety and depression levels were also included in the survey.
A patient’s satisfaction with their physical health and mental wellbeing- or health-related quality of life, is an important end result in cancer care. But the study showed that patients’ mental and physical wellbeing was low overall 12 months after diagnosis. The more advanced the cancer, the lower the HRQoL.
The type of cancer was also a factor because disease severity differs. Women with reproductive system cancers, for example, had higher wellbeing scores than lymphoma patients. This could be explained by the fact that lymphoma is often aggressive and progresses quickly while reproductive system cancers, such as cervical, can spread slowly over a number of years.
“The key message is to focus more on supporting patients throughout their whole cancer ‘journey’ especially in their lives after treatment,” added Subramanian.
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