A web-based survey concluded that thyroid cancer survivors experienced increased anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic when compared to the prepandemic era, as published in Endocrine Practice. Most (83%) respondents indicated that their lives were very different during the pandemic.

The study enrolled 378 responders who met all inclusion criteria. These included patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer or noninvasive follicular neoplasm with papillary-like nuclear features. Most (74.4%) patients had papillary thyroid cancer, followed by medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC, 10.9%) and follicular thyroid carcinoma (6.9%).

The results from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System profiles were compared to previously published data. The evaluation revealed that during the pandemic, participants scored higher for anxiety (57.8 vs 56.5, P <.05) and lower for the ability to participate in social activities (46.2 vs 48.1, P <.01), fatigue (55.8 vs 57.9, P <.01), and sleep disturbance (54.7 vs 56.1, P <.01).


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“For the domains of anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain interference, and sleep disturbance, higher scores indicated ‘worse’ patient-reported quality of life, while in the domains of satisfaction with social participation and physical functioning, higher scores indicated ‘better’ quality of life,” the authors explained.

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Increased anxiety was particularly associated with younger age (P <.01) and changes in treatment plan (P =.04). Moreover, 79% of respondents agreed that their interactions with doctors were different when compared to the prepandemic era, even though almost half (49%) of participants declared to be satisfied with information their doctor provided regarding COVID-19-related changes.

“To deliver comprehensive care, providers must better understand patient concerns and improve communication about potential changes to their treatment plans,” the authors concluded.

However, they recognized that the cohort of this study diverged from national data in several features, including older age, higher female and white predominance, less papillary and more MTC, higher stage, and higher proportion undergoing radioactive iodine ablation.

Reference

Graves CE, Goyal N, Levin A, et al. Anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic: a web-based survey of thyroid cancer survivors. Endocr Pract. Published online January 7, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.eprac.2022.01.002