Fears, beliefs, and quality of life of patients with cancer vs the general population during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in Lombardy

Carla Ida Ripamonti, Giacomo Massa, Daniela Insolvibile, Mauro Guglielmo, Guido Miccinesi, Camillo Regalia, Emanuela Saita, Francesco Pagnini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Aim: To understand how patients with cancer reacted to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and whether their quality of life (QoL) was affected. Methods: In June 2020, 111 patients with cancer treated in the supportive care unit of a Comprehensive Cancer Center in Milan and 201 healthy controls from the general population were enrolled and assessed both quantitatively and qualitatively for fears and COVID-19–related beliefs as well as for QoL. Results: Fear of COVID-19 was significantly lower among patients (41% vs 57.6%; p = 0.007), as was fear of cancer (61.5% vs 85.6%; p < 0.001) and other diseases. The perceived risk of getting COVID-19 was lower among patients (25.2% vs 52.7%; p < 0.001), as was the belief of having been exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (18.1% vs 40.8%; p < 0.001). The physical component of QoL was better among the population (54.5 vs 43.8; p < 0.001); the reverse was true for patients’ psychological well-being (44.6 vs 39.6; p < 0.001). The qualitative data supported such results, showing a reduced psychological effect on the patients with cancer compared to the controls. Various reasons explain this result, including the awareness of being treated for cancer and nevertheless protected against getting infected in a cancer center of public health reorganized to continue treating patients by protecting them and personnel from the risk of infection. Conclusions: The experience of a cancer diagnosis, together with proper hospital reorganization, may act as protective factors from fears and psychological consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalTumori
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • beliefs
  • fears
  • hospital reorganization
  • pandemic
  • quality of life

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