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JNCCN 360: Myeloma Patient Psychosocial Distress During COVID-19
Posted: Aug 28, 2020
JNCCN 360: Myeloma Patient Psychosocial Distress During COVID-19 image

As seen on JNCCN 360 Multiple Myeloma

AACR COVID-19: Psychosocial Distress Among Patients With Active Myeloma

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Friday, July 24, 2020

Following an assessment of cancer-related distress during the COVID-19 pandemic, patients with multiple myeloma reported sleep problems, dietary issues, worries about the future, as well as pain and/or physical discomfort as their top concerns, according to a presentation during the 2020 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 and Cancer (Abstract PO-009). Therefore, patient-reported surveys may illuminate additional burdens for these patients that may guide future research to enhance patient outcomes, advised Nathan W. Sweeney, PhD, of the CrowdCare Foundation, Utah, and colleagues.

“Informing patients and medical professionals of physical and psychosocial distress experienced by patients could create a unified approach to decreasing distress levels and increase patient overall health, even during a pandemic or when care is delayed,” explained the investigators.

A total of 1,079 patients with multiple myeloma were recruited using HealthTree and enrolled in the study. All patients were administered an online survey, created alongside the Cancer Support Community; it asked them to rate their level of concern regarding their psychosocial, physical, and practical needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investigators reported the most concerning physical and health-related topics for patients were eating and nutrition (71%), issues with sleep (49%), pain or physical discomfort (46%), and excessive exhaustion limiting their desires (44%). In addition, worrying about the future (46%), apprehension about family and friends (44%), feelings of irritability (37%), sadness or depression (30%), nervousness or fear (25%), loneliness or isolation (20%), and relationship problems (11%) were the most concerning psychosocial and emotional issues for patients. Furthermore, finances were a concern for 32% of patients.

Disclosure: No information regarding conflicts of interest was provided.

The author Jennifer Ahlstrom

about the author
Jennifer Ahlstrom

Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd). 

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