High level of distress in long-term survivors of thyroid carcinoma: results of rapid screening using the distress thermometer
SourceActa Oncologica, 52, 1, (2013), pp. 128-137
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectDCN PAC - Perception action and control; IGMD 2: Molecular gastro-enterology and hepatology; IGMD 6: Hormonal regulation; IGMD 6: Hormonal regulation ONCOL 3: Translational research; NCEBP 8: Psychological determinants of chronic illness ONCOL 4: Quality of Care; NCMLS 1: Infection and autoimmunity N4i 4: Auto-immunity, transplantation and immunotherapy
CONTEXT: Cancer patients are at increased risk for distress. The Distress Thermometer (DT) and problem list (PL) are short-tools validated and recommended for distress screening in cancer patients. OBJECTIVE: To investigate the level of distress and problems experienced by survivors of differentiated non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (DTC), using the DT and PL and whether this correlates with clinical and demographical variables. PARTICIPANTS, DESIGN AND SETTING: All 205 DTC patients, under follow-up at the outpatient clinic of our university hospital, were asked to fill in the DT and PL, hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS), illness cognition questionnaire (ICQ) and an ad hoc questionnaire. Receiver Operator Characteristic analysis (ROC) was used to establish the optimal DT cut-off score according to HADS. Correlations of questionnaires scores with data on diagnosis, treatment and follow-up collected from medical records were analyzed. RESULTS: Of the 159 respondents, 145 agreed to participate [118 in remission, median follow-up 7.2 years (range 3 months-41 years)]. Of these, 34.3% rated their distress score >/=5, indicating clinically relevant distress according to ROC analysis. Patients reported physical (86%) over emotional problems (76%) as sources of distress. DT scores correlated with HADS scores and ICQ subscales. No significant correlations were found between DT scores and clinical or demographical characteristics except for employment status. CONCLUSION: Prevalence of distress is high among patients with DTC even after long-term remission and cannot be predicted by clinical and demographical characteristics. DT and PL are useful screening instruments for distress in DTC patients and could easily be incorporated into daily practice.
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