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Do COVID-19-Related Treatment Changes Influence Fear of Cancer Recurrence, Anxiety, and Depression in Breast Cancer Patients?

 Soo Yeon Kim  ;  Sue Kim 
 CANCER NURSING, Vol.45(2) : E628-E638, 2022-03 
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Anxiety / psychology ; Breast Neoplasms* / psychology ; COVID-19* ; Depression / psychology ; Fear / psychology ; Female ; Humans ; Pandemics ; SARS-CoV-2
Background: The worldwide spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted the treatment of cancer patients. Treatment changes can negatively affect patients' prognosis and may be psychologically burdensome.

Objective: The aim of this study was to explore whether COVID-19-related treatment changes (delays, cancellations, changes) influenced fear of cancer recurrence, anxiety, and depression in breast cancer patients.

Methods: A convenience sample (n = 154) of patients who were diagnosed with breast cancer no longer than 2 years ago was obtained from an online community and social network site. The survey content included COVID-19-related treatment experiences and psychological status. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, χ2 test, independent t test, and analysis of variance.

Results: Twenty-nine patients (18.8%) had experienced COVID-19-related treatment changes, and changes of the treatment plan had a significant correlation with depression (t = 2.000, P = .047). Fear of cancer recurrence was high (mean score, 84.31 ± 24.23). Fifteen percent had moderate to severe levels of anxiety, and 24.7% had moderate to severe levels of depression. Narrative reports also identified COVID-19-related unforeseen costs.

Conclusion: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, breast cancer patients experienced treatment changes, and changes in treatment plans were significantly associated with depression. Fear of recurrence, anxiety, and depression were found at high levels.

Implications for practice: Oncology nurses should assess the psychological status of cancer patients in the early survivorship phase who appear to be especially vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Oncology nurses can also monitor whether patients are receiving timely supportive care to alleviate fears and anxiety and assess financial needs for COVID-19-related costs.
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3. College of Nursing (간호대학) > Dept. of Nursing (간호학과) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Sue(김수) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3785-2445
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