Psychological well-being in cancer outpatients during COVID-19.

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Purpose: The psychological status of cancer outpatients receiving anti-neoplastic treatment during the lockdown in a Italian non-COVID Cancer Center, was been investigated with the following aims: To measure the levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression and anxiety; to compare patients with different cancer sites; to compare the anxiety and depression levels measured in this emergency period between cancer and non-cancer patients and between cancer patients before and after the emergency. Methods: The following questionnaires were used: The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADs) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R).Worries regarding the COVID-19 on patients' lives, socio-demographic and clinical details were collected using a brief structured questionnaire. Results: One-hundred seventy-eight outpatients were enrolled. We found that 55% of patients were above the cut-off for HADS general scale and 23.7% had severe level of PTSD. The 68% of patients declared that their worries have increased during the pandemic especially for women. Patients with lung cancer have higher general distress compared with patients with breast cancer and lymphoma. The non cancer sample had values significantly higher both for the IES-R scales and for HADS Depression subscale. Finally, cancer patients who experienced the health emergency showed higher levels of anxiety than those measured 2 years ago. Conclusion: Cancer out-patients of the present sample have severe post-traumatic stress symptoms and psychological distress, those with lung cancer are at higher risk and may need special attention. Non-oncological subjects have higher depression levels than cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1134
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of B.U.ON.
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Oncology
  • Psycho-oncology
  • Trauma and stressor related disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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