Study: Patients With Lung Cancer Had Higher Levels of Anxiety Due to COVID-19

Individuals who had depression or stress in a hospital in Mexico were also 4.5 and 3.18 times more likely, respectively, to experience delays in treatment.

Individuals with lung cancer had higher levels of anxiety and saw their treatment delayed, because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 1 hospital in Mexico, study results show.

“There is enough evidence to suggest that depression among patients with thoracic neoplasms is associated with treatment delays and changes in primary treatment, especially delays due to pandemic, were associated with lower survival rates than those without changes,” Oscar Arrieta, MD, of the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología in Mexíco, said in a statement.

Investigators analyzed cross-sectional mental health evaluations, which assessed anxiety, depression, and distress, from 1 hospital in Mexico between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. The study participants comprised 548 individuals, with an average age of 61.5 years.

The study results showed that individuals with lung cancer who experienced depression were 4.5 times more likely to have delays in treatment, while individuals who experienced stress were 3.18 times more likely to have delays in treatment, Arrieta said.

The depression and stress symptoms often followed previous anxiety, but there were no anxiety-associated delays with treatment, the study results showed.

Of the study participants, 86.9% had non-small cell lung cancer, and 80% had metastatic disease.

Women tended to report higher levels than men, but almost one-third of individuals experienced anxiety due to the pandemic, followed by equal levels of depression and distress, both at 18%.

23.9% of individuals reported a change in treatment and 78.6% were caused by the pandemic.

Delays (41.9%) were the most frequent change, followed by suspension (37.4%).

The results of the study also showed that individuals with no changes or delays in treatment had more prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival.

Reference

Patients with lung cancer more likely to feel anxiety and experience treatment delays during COVID-19 pandemic. EurekAlert. News release. September 11, 2021. Accessed September 13, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/927524