Post-traumatic stress symptoms in long-term non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivors: does time heal?
Little is known about the trajectory of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in cancer survivors, despite the fact that such knowledge can guide treatment. Therefore, this study examined changes in PTSD symptoms among long-term survivors of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and identified demographic, clinical, and psychosocial predictors and correlates of PTSD symptomatology.Surveys were mailed to 682 NHL survivors who participated in an earlier survey and now were at least 7 years postdiagnosis. Information was obtained regarding PTSD symptoms, positive and negative perceptions of the cancer experience (ie, impact of cancer), and other potential correlates of PTSD.A total of 566 individuals participated (83% response rate) with a median of 12.9 years since diagnosis; respondents were 52% female and 87% white. Although half (51%) of the respondents reported no PTSD symptoms and 12% reported a resolution of symptoms, more than one-third (37%) reported persistence or worsening of symptoms over 5 years. Survivors who reported a low income, stage ≥ 2 at diagnosis, aggressive lymphoma, having received chemotherapy, and greater impact of cancer (both positive and negative) at the initial survey had more PTSD symptoms at follow-up. In multivariable analysis, income and negative impacts of cancer were independent predictors of PTSD symptoms.More than one-third of long-term NHL survivors experience persisting or worsening PTSD symptoms. Providers should be aware of enduring risk; early identification of those at prolonged risk with standardized measures and treatments that target perceptions of the cancer experience might improve long-term outcomes.
Smith, SK; Zimmerman, S; Williams, CS; Benecha, H; Abernethy, AP; Mayer, DK; Edwards, LJ; Ganz, PA
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