Screening for distress in patients with brain cancer using the NCCN's rapid screening measure.
GOALS OF WORK: Patients with brain cancer are at a risk of experiencing elevated levels of distress due to the severe functional, neurocognitive, and neuropsychological sequelae of the disease. Using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network's Distress Thermometer, we evaluated the extent and sources of distress within a population of patients with brain cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Participants were asked to complete the Distress Thermometer, a single-item rapid screening tool for distress. The Distress Thermometer is a visual analog scale on which participants rate their level of distress from '0' (none) to '10' (extreme). Participants were also asked to designate which items from a 34-item list constitute sources of distress. MAIN RESULTS: Fifty-two percent of participants met the > or =4 cut-off score for distress. The scores were positively correlated with patient-reported emotional sources of distress (r = 0.444, p < 0.001), physical sources of stress (r = 0.231, p < 0.05), and total number of concerns (r = 0.368, p < 0.001). On average, brain tumor patients reported 5.8 cancer-related items of concern. CONCLUSION: Brain cancer patients are likely to experience distress at some point during their disease trajectory. Patient-reported emotional sources of distress should be targeted and interventions should be designed to address sources of distress such as worry, sadness, and depression.
Keir, ST; Calhoun-Eagan, RD; Swartz, JJ; Saleh, OA; Friedman, HS
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