Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer

Melissa K. Frey, Annie E. Ellis, Kristen Zeligs, Eloise Chapman-Davis, Charlene Thomas, Paul J. Christos, Valentin Kolev, Monica Prasad-Hayes, Samantha Cohen, Kevin Holcomb, Stephanie V. Blank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges for the oncology community. For people living with cancer, treatments are interrupted, surgeries cancelled, and regular oncology evaluations rescheduled. People with cancer and their physicians must balance plausible fears of coronavirus disease 2019 and cancer treatment with the consequences of delaying cancer care. Objective: We aim to evaluate the experience of women with ovarian cancer during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Study Design: Women with a current or previous diagnosis of ovarian cancer completed an online survey focusing on treatment interruptions and quality of life. The quality of life was measured with the Cancer Worry Scale and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. The survey was distributed through survivor networks and social media. Univariate and multivariable linear regression analysis were used to evaluate the effect of participant characteristics on quality of life survey scores. Results: A total of 603 women, from 41 states, visited the survey website between March 30, 2020, and April 13, 2020, and 555 (92.0%) completed the survey. The median age was 58 years (range, 20–85). At the time of survey completion, 217 participants (43.3%) were in active treatment. A total of 175 participants (33%) experienced a delay in some component of their cancer care. Ten (26.3%) of the 38 participants scheduled for surgery experienced a delay, as did 18 (8.3%) of the 217 participants scheduled for nonsurgical cancer treatment. A total of 133 participants (24.0%) had a delayed physician appointment, 84 (15.1%) laboratory tests, and 53 (9.6%) cancer-related imaging. Among the cohort, 88.6% (489) reported significant cancer worry, 51.4% (285) borderline or abnormal anxiety, and 26.5% (147) borderline or abnormal depression. On univariate analysis, age less than 65 years, being scheduled for cancer treatment or cancer surgery, delay in oncology care, being self-described as immunocompromised, and use of telemedicine were all associated with higher levels of cancer worry. Higher anxiety scores were associated with age less than 65 years and being self-described as immunocompromised. Higher depression scores were associated with age less than 65 years, being scheduled for cancer surgery, delay in oncology care, being self-described as immunocompromised, and use of telemedicine. On multivariable linear regression analysis, age less than 65 and being self-described as immunocompromised were independently predictive of greater cancer worry, anxiety, and depression, and delay in cancer care was predictive of anxiety and depression. Conclusion: The coronavirus disease 2019 crisis is affecting care of patients with ovarian cancer; surgeries, treatments, scheduled physician appointments, laboratory tests, and imaging are cancelled or delayed. Younger age, presumed immunocompromise, and delay in cancer care were associated with significantly higher levels of cancer worry, anxiety, and depression. Providers must work with patients to balance competing risks of coronavirus disease 2019 and cancer, recognizing that communication is a critical clinical tool to improve quality of life in these times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725.e1-725.e9
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume223
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • anxiety
  • cancer worry
  • coronavirus
  • depression
  • ovarian cancer

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this