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Article

Psychosocial Distress in Adult Patients Awaiting Cancer Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Division of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Department of Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 3M6, Canada
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Division of General Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Department of Urology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Division of Cardiac Surgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 2Y9, Canada
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Department of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 3M6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 April 2021 / Revised: 8 May 2021 / Accepted: 10 May 2021 / Published: 13 May 2021
Cancer causes substantial emotional and psychosocial distress, which may be exacerbated by delays in treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased wait times for many patients with cancer. In this study, the psychosocial distress associated with waiting for cancer surgery during the pandemic was investigated. This cross-sectional, convergent mixed-methods study included patients with lower priority disease during the first wave of COVID-19 at an academic, tertiary care hospital in eastern Canada. Participants underwent semi-structured interviews and completed two questionnaires: Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Qualitative analysis was completed through a thematic analysis approach, with integration achieved through triangulation. Fourteen participants were recruited, with cancer sites including thyroid, kidney, breast, prostate, and a gynecological disorder. Increased anxiety symptoms were found in 36% of patients and depressive symptoms in 14%. Similarly, 64% of patients experienced moderate or high stress. Six key themes were identified, including uncertainty, life changes, coping strategies, communication, experience, and health services. Participants discussed substantial distress associated with lifestyle changes and uncertain treatment timelines. Participants identified quality communication with their healthcare team and individualized coping strategies as being partially protective against such symptoms. Delays in surgery for patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in extensive psychosocial distress. Patients may be able to mitigate these symptoms partially through various coping mechanisms and improved communication with their healthcare teams. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; cancer; psychosocial distress; waiting lists COVID-19; cancer; psychosocial distress; waiting lists
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MDPI and ACS Style

Forner, D.; Murnaghan, S.; Porter, G.; Mason, R.J.; Hong, P.; Taylor, S.M.; Bentley, J.; Hirsch, G.; Noel, C.W.; Rigby, M.H.; Corsten, M.; Trites, J.R.; Taylor, V.; Kendell, C.; Jorgensen, M.; Urquhart, R. Psychosocial Distress in Adult Patients Awaiting Cancer Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28, 1867-1878. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/curroncol28030173

AMA Style

Forner D, Murnaghan S, Porter G, Mason RJ, Hong P, Taylor SM, Bentley J, Hirsch G, Noel CW, Rigby MH, Corsten M, Trites JR, Taylor V, Kendell C, Jorgensen M, Urquhart R. Psychosocial Distress in Adult Patients Awaiting Cancer Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Current Oncology. 2021; 28(3):1867-1878. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/curroncol28030173

Chicago/Turabian Style

Forner, David, Sarah Murnaghan, Geoffrey Porter, Ross J. Mason, Paul Hong, S. M. Taylor, James Bentley, Gregory Hirsch, Christopher W. Noel, Matthew H. Rigby, Martin Corsten, Jonathan R. Trites, Victoria Taylor, Cynthia Kendell, Margaret Jorgensen, and Robin Urquhart. 2021. "Psychosocial Distress in Adult Patients Awaiting Cancer Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic" Current Oncology 28, no. 3: 1867-1878. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/curroncol28030173

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