Germ cell tumours are the most common cancer of male adolescents and young adults (AYA, age 18-39). Men in this age group have been healthy much of their lives, and a diagnosis of cancer can cause significant psychosocial distress. We therefore sought to examine the psychosocial needs of patients with germ cell tumour and determine whether needs vary based on age (AYA vs non-AYA). We hypothesized that AYA experience more anxiety and distress in emotional, practical and physical domains.
We evaluated the responses of all patients referred to British Columbia (BC) Cancer who completed a pre-consultation health assessment form. This is a validated screening questionnaire for distress, subclinical/clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety and includes the Canadian Problem Checklist domains of emotional, informational, practical, spiritual, social/family and physical concerns.
Data were collected for 349 patients (2011-2015). Patient population was predominantly AYA (n = 227) with median age 33 (range 18-83). The top 3 AYA concerns were financial, work/school, frustration and anger. AYA patients more commonly scored positive for symptoms of subclinical/clinical anxiety than non-AYA (39.4% vs. 27.9%, p = 0.028). Those AYA patients with subclinical/clinical anxiety symptoms experienced more fears and worries, concerns regarding work/school, lack of understanding of their disease, finances and frustration and anger.
The results of this study indicate that AYA with testicular cancer have unique needs and experience more self-reported anxiety symptoms with emotional, informational and practical concerns. This is valuable information to stakeholders for allocation of resources to address cancer survivorship amongst these patients.
Supportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. 2020 Aug 31 [Epub ahead of print]
M Soleimani, C Kollmannsberger, A Bates, B Leung, Cheryl Ho
Division of Medical Oncology, BC Cancer, Vancouver, Canada., Department of Psychosocial Oncology, BC Cancer, Vancouver, Canada., Division of Medical Oncology, BC Cancer, Vancouver, Canada. .