COVID-19 Related Mental Health Issues among Patients with Cancer: A Pilot Study
Dr. Ramdas Ransing,
B.K.L.Walawalkar Rural Medical College, Sawarde, Ratnagiri-415606, Maharashtra, India.
Introduction: Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is associated with more psychological distress than its rampant spread, mortality, and morbidity. Cancer patients are at increased risk of mortality and morbidity than the general population. Due to this, there is a possibility that cancer patients may be suffering from a higher level of COVID-19 related anxiety, fear, and obsession.
Aim: To explore COVID-19 related mental health issues (anxiety, fear, and obsession) and its correlates in patients with cancer.
Materials and Methods: The present study was a cross-sectional pilot study which was conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India. Patients receiving treatment for cancer (n=55) consequently at tertiary care teaching hospital of India were recruited. The Corona Anxiety Scale (CAS), Obsession with COVID-19 Scale (OCS), Fear of COVID-19 Scale (FCV-19S), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and Generalised Anxiety Disorder-7 Scale (GAD-7) were used to assess all eligible patients. Fisher’s-exact test, spearman’s rank correlation, and logistic regression were used to analyse the data.
Results: Among the 55 patients (mean age was 49.64±13.08 years) with cancer, 11 (20%) had Coronavirus related anxiety and 2 (3.6%) had obsession related COVID-19, 22 (40%) had depression and 18 (32.7%) has GAD. CAS score positively correlated with FCV-19S score [ρ=0.50 (p<0.001)], PHQ-9 score [ρ=0.90 (p<0.001)] and GAD-7 score [ρ=0.74 (p<0.001)].
Conclusion: COVID-19 related mental health issues (fear, anxiety), depression, and GAD were prevalent among patients with cancer. Further, COVID-19 specific issues may not be addressed in routine screening and evaluation in current practice. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop systematic strategies to screen and develop specific mental health interventions for patients with cancer.