Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on supportive care needs, psychological distress and quality of life in UK cancer survivors and their support network

Nicholas J. Hulbert-Williams*, Monica Leslie, Lee Hulbert-Williams, Eilidh Smith, Lesley Howells, David J. Pinato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic is having considerable impact on cancer care, including restricted access to hospital-based care, treatment and psychosocial support. We investigated the impact on unmet needs and psychosocial well-being. Methods: One hundred and forty four participants (77% female), including people with cancer and their support networks, were recruited. The most prevalent diagnosis was breast cancer. Forty-one participants recruited pre-pandemic were compared with 103 participants recruited during the COVID-19 pandemic. We measured participants' unmet supportive care needs, psychological distress and quality of life. Results: Half of our patient respondents reported unexpected changes to treatment following pandemic onset, with widespread confusion about their longer-term consequences. Although overall need levels have not increased, specific needs have changed in prominence. People with cancer reported significantly reduced anxiety (p = 0.049) and improved quality of life (p = 0.032) following pandemic onset, but support network participants reported reduced quality of life (p = 0.009), and non-significantly elevated anxiety, stress and depression. Conclusion: Psychological well-being of people with cancer has not been detrimentally affected by pandemic onset. Reliance on home-based support to compensate for the lost availability of structured healthcare pathways may, however, explain significant and detrimental effects on the well-being and quality of life of people in their support and informal care networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13442
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021

Keywords

  • cancer
  • COVID-19
  • distress
  • oncology
  • psychosocial
  • quality of life
  • SARS-Cov-2
  • unmet needs

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