Persistent self-consciousness about facial appearance, measured with the Derriford appearance scale 59, in patients after long-term biochemical remission of acromegaly
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SourcePituitary, 18, 3, (2015), pp. 366-375
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 16: Vascular damage RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 9: Rare cancers RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
CONTEXT: Acromegaly is associated with impaired quality of life (QoL) and causes anatomical disproportions, which may contribute to the decreased QoL after successful treatment. The Derriford appearance scale 59 (DAS59) is a questionnaire measuring psychological distress and disruptions to everyday life associated with self-consciousness of appearance. OBJECTIVE: Investigate the psychological distress and dysfunction related to self-consciousness about appearance and its effect on QoL in patients in long-term remission of acromegaly. PATIENTS, DESIGN AND METHODS: Patients (>18 years old) treated for acromegaly at the Department of Endocrinology of the Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen were invited to participate. A gender-, age- and body mass index matched control group was provided by the patients themselves. Participants were asked to complete the modified DAS59-, research and development 36- (RAND-36), acromegaly quality of life questionnaire (AcroQoL) and a sociodemographic questionnaire. Differences between patient- and control groups and correlations between questionnaire scores and clinical characteristics collected from medical records were analyzed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Questionnaire scores. RESULTS: Of the 120 respondents, 73 agreed to participate [all cured or under biochemical control, median remission time 10.5 years (range 2.3-43.6 years)]. Of these, 34 (46.6 %) reported self-consciousness about their appearance. Twenty-nine of these patients (85.3 %) pointed out their face to be a prominent source of self-consciousness. Fifty-seven matched control subjects were included as well. Significant correlations were found between the scores of the DAS59 and the AcroQoL, RAND-36 and VAS in patients. CONCLUSIONS: Even after long-term remission of acromegaly, a large number of patients are self-conscious about their appearance, leading to psychological distress and disruptions to everyday life and decreased QoL. Facial features were the most important source of self-consciousness. This stresses the importance of addressing self-consciousness of appearance and the need for additional support in this regard during follow-up in these patients.
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