When you are first diagnosed with cancer, there might be quite a lot going on in your mind. We also know that the emotions and feelings associated with cancer don’t necessarily go away with time. A new study from the Cancer Support Community found that well over a third of cancer patients over a year from diagnosis and beyond continue to report moderate to very serious concerns across a range of issues, including feeling worried about the future, finances, sadness and depression.
Why is this important? Even though the study found that distress levels are the highest within the first year of a cancer diagnosis, 45 percent of participants in the study who were diagnosed over a year ago still had a high risk for depression and a substantial proportion had a broad range of distress-related concerns. This information raises the issue of support for people during the entire cancer experience—not just right at diagnosis.
The Cancer Support Community’s Research and Training Institute presented these findings over the weekend at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Survivorship Symposium in San Francisco, CA to a broad audience of over 750 oncologists and primary care physicians. The data was collected from 905 members of the Cancer Support Community’s nationwide Affiliate Network who completed the CancerSupportSource distress screening tool.
According to Joanne Buzaglo, PhD, Senior VP of Research & Training, “What is unique about this study is that it reflects a significant community-based effort to identify and understand the needs of cancer survivors from across the country and link them to resources available in the community. Future research should evaluate efforts to identify factors that predict those at greatest risk for ongoing and persistent distress and determine best practices for repeat distress screening across the survivorship continuum.”
The study is available to read, in full,