Mapping the needs and psychological outcomes of Slovenian adolescent and young adult cancer patients: An exploratory mixed-method study.
Košir U., Roškar S., Wild J., Bowes L.
OBJECTIVE: With improving survival rates, it is becoming increasingly important to understand the psychological aspect and needs of young cancer patients and survivors. Our goal was to describe the self-reported levels of psychological distress, subjective illness experience and needs of young Slovenian cancer patients and survivors. METHODS: Seventy-nine participants, aged 19-39 years, answered questionnaires about anxiety, depression, mental defeat, cancer worry and their experience of learning the diagnosis and being treated. We used visualisations to demonstrate the relationship between anxiety and depression. The qualitative responses were summarised using a content analysis approach. RESULTS: Twenty-eight (35%) participants scored in the clinical range for anxiety and fifteen (19%) for depression. Cancer-related worry was common (85% reported at least one worry). Mental defeat was positively associated with measures of psychological distress. Those who felt negative about learning their diagnosis emphasised the need for more time, empathy and dignity. Psychological support during illness was seen as crucial. CONCLUSION: Anxiety and depression remain a problem for a subset of patients. Medical professionals working with young people with cancer should encourage a warm atmosphere as they attend to patients' needs and concerns.