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Psychological Status and Attitude of Breast Cancer Patients Post-COVID-19 Outbreak in Chennai: A Observational Survey Study
Introduction The global threat caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented lockdown imposed had created emotional stress among the breast cancer patients with dilemma regarding risk of progression of cancer due to interruptions of standard medical care and panic about acquiring the COVID-infection during their frequent visits to the hospital.
Objectives We conducted a questionnaire-based study to assess the psychological impact in this situation affecting their quality of life and their perspective in this current situation.
Materials and Methods Breast cancer patients who had been recently diagnosed, those who were on chemotherapy and visited our OPD in the month of July during the COVID-19 pandemic were assessed for their treatment-related perspectives with a questionnaire. Psychological status was analyzed with GAD-7 (generalized anxiety disorder questionnaire) and PHQ-9 (patient health questionnaire).
Results A total of 202 breast cancer patients were included when lockdown was relaxed after a period of 3 months and COVID-19 status was still up trending. The clinical profile and patient-related information were collected from the medical records. Of them, 55.4% (112 patients) were within the city, 35.1% (71 patients) were from suburban areas of the city, and 9.4% (19 patients) were from adjacent districts/rural areas. Also, 56% were educated. Of these, 87% wanted to continue treatment and did not bother about the spread of the infection, while remaining patients’ main concern was to avoid infection than to get oncological management. Also, 76% were aware about the COVID-19 infection and sequelae. A total of 80% patients were aware of the consequences due to delay in cancer treatment. Of these patients, 51%, 42% and 7% had mild, moderate, and severe anxiety respectively and 69%, 25% and 6% had mild, moderate, and severe depression respectively. The severe anxiety and depression correlated with metastatic breast cancer and educated patients.
Conclusion This study reflected that the breast cancer patients were more bothered to continue the treatment in spite of the existing pandemic.
Article published online:
13 August 2021
© 2021. Indian Society of Medical and Paediatric Oncology. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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