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Assessment of psychological distress among cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy in Saudi Arabia

Authors Almigbal TH, Almutairi KM, Fu JB, Vinluan JM, Alhelih E, Alonazi WB, Batais MA, Alodhayani AA, Mubaraki MA

Received 25 March 2019

Accepted for publication 13 June 2019

Published 20 August 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 691—700


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Turky H Almigbal,1 Khalid M Almutairi,2 Jack B Fu,3 Jason M Vinluan,2 Eyad Alhelih,4 Wadi B Alonazi,5 Mohammed Ali Batais,1 Abdulaziz A Alodhayani,1 Murad A Mubaraki6

1College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 2Department of Community Health Science, College of Applied Medical Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 3Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine, University of Texas Md Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA; 4College of Nursing, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 5College of Business Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 6Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department, College of Applied Medical Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Jason M Vinluan
Department of Community Health Science, College of Applied Medical Science, King Saud University, P.O. Box 642, Riyadh 11421, Saudi Arabia
Tel +966 55 765 1783
Fax +966 469 3625

Background: Cancer patients under psychological distress have reduced compliance with treatment and prolonged hospitalizations. Identifying cancer patients who may be more likely to suffer from psychological distress over the disease trajectory is essential to targeting the proper interventions and providing the best care. In this descriptive cross-sectional study, we aim to assess the levels of emotional and physical distress, depressive symptoms, and social concerns of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Methods: A total of 148 cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy from five different public tertiary-level hospitals in Saudi Arabia participated in this study. The survey was conducted by a trained researcher from November 2015 through April 2016. The Psycho-Oncology Screening Tool was used to identify levels of distress of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. Emotional and physical distress, depressive symptoms, and social concerns in receiving psychosocial services were assessed.
Results: The findings show above average levels of physical and emotional distress was (342.07±78.9) and social concerns was (7.27±1.68). Age was a significant predictor of psychological distress and in social concerns (P<0.05). Marital status and employment status emerged as significant predictors of depressive symptoms and social concerns (<0.05), (P<0.001), respectively. The patients’ type of cancer was significantly associated with the level of physical distress, emotional distress, and depressive symptoms (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy displayed above-average levels of distress. This may have significant implications on their adherence for treatment and patient outcomes. Routine screening and support services or psychosocial care for patients are warranted among cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.

Keywords: psychological distress, cancer patients, radiotherapy, Saudi Arabia

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