Epidemiology of mental health problems among patients with cancer during COVID-19 pandemic.
Wang Y., Duan Z., Ma Z., Mao Y., Li X., Wilson A., Qin H., Ou J., Peng K., Zhou F., Li C., Liu Z., Chen R.
The current study aimed to explore mental health problems in patients diagnosed with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. A cluster sampling, cross-sectional survey with 6213 cancer patients was conducted in one of the largest cancer centers in China. The socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, psychosomatic conditions, interpersonal relationships and social support, COVID-19 infection-related psychological stress, and mental health status were measured. Medical conditions were extracted from patients' electronic healthcare records. Among the 6213 cancer patients, 23.4% had depression, 17.7% had anxiety, 9.3% had PTSD, and 13.5% had hostility. Hierarchical liner regression models showed that having a history of mental disorder, excessive alcohol consumption, having a higher frequency of worrying about cancer management due to COVID-19, having a higher frequency feeling of overwhelming psychological pressure from COVID-19, and having a higher level of fatigue and pain were the predominant risk factors for mental health problems in cancer patients. However, there were only 1.6% of them were seeking psychological counseling during COVID-19. We also revealed the protective factors associated with lower risk of mental health problems among cancer patients. The present study revealed a high prevalence of mental health problems and gaps in mental health services for cancer patients, which also indicated high distress from COVID-19-elevated risks. We call for systematic screening of mental health status for all cancer patients, and developing specific psychological interventions for this vulnerable population.