Introduction Many gynaecological cancer patients suffer from psychosocial distress. The goal of this evaluation was to assess the level of distress and desire for psychosocial support in this group of patients based on the psychosocial distress screening at the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University Hospital of the Technical University of Munich, Germany.
Methodology As part of the self-reporting 10-item Questionnaire on Stress in Cancer Patients-Revised (QSC-R10), which has been validated for the evaluation of psychosocial distress in oncological patients (Book et al., 2011), patients state whether or not and, if applicable, how severely each item applies to them. Answers range from 0 („the problem does not apply to me’) to 5 („the problem applies to me and is a very serious problem’) and refer to potential disease-related situations. A validated cut-off score >14 indicates significant psychosocial distress. A question regarding the patient’s desire for psychological support was added to the screening. Psychosocial support was actively offered in case of significant distress or patient´s desire. Between November 2013 and April 2018, 860 questionnaires were filled in by 325 outpatients at the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics and evaluated for the present study.
Results On average, each patient filled in 2.65 questionnaires. The mean patient age on the date of the first filled questionnaire was 60 years. The most frequent cancer diagnosis was ovarian cancer (43%), followed by endometrial cancer (17%). In 10% of questionnaires, patients expressed a desire for psychosocial support, in 74% declined such support and 16% of the surveys showed no answer. 31% of all questionnaires indicated clinically relevant psychosocial distress, 62% remained under the cut-off and 6% were not evaluable due to missing information. Of those exceeding the cut-off, 14% desired psychosocial support, 73% declined support and in 13% of the questionnaires, patients did not comment on their desire.
Conclusion 31% of questionnaires showed clinically relevant psychosocial distress of patients. However, only in 14% of these cases patients showed desire for psychosocial support. This discrepancy is a common phenomenon described in the literature. Further research concerning potential causes and factors associated with high distress-levels will be necessary. For this analysis, the development of the score and the desire for support over time in patients who received several questionnaires has not been taken into account yet. Further investigations in this regard should be considered in order to facilitate needs-based support over time of treatment and disease.
Disclosures Authors did not state any conflicts of interest within the last three years.
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