Patients with cancer face a serious dilemma during the COVID-19 pandemic, as staying at home could increase their risk of cancer progression, while visiting the hospital for treatment could increase their risk of becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. A new study published in Psycho-Oncology reveals how the pandemic has impacted such patients’ quality of life.
The surveyed-based study, which included 260 patients with stage III and IV cancer undergoing chemotherapy when the pandemic hit, found that patients’ quality of life during the pandemic was significantly lower than that of a reference group of 8,066 patients with stages III and IV cancer before the pandemic.
The differences in perceived quality of life concerned mainly social and cognitive functioning, which were significantly lower in patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical and emotional functioning were similar between the two groups.
The study revealed that 20% of patients with cancer considered postponing chemotherapy and 5% consider abandoning further cancer treatment during the pandemic, despite a fear of cancer progression.
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