We’re releasing abstracts from the #YACPrime presentations held at #IPOS2019; here’s the first one!
Introduction: A diagnosis of cancer in young adulthood can disrupt an important period of development and identity formation. This study examined whether psychological distress (PD) differs in YAs with cancer compared to their non-cancer peers, and identified factors related to high PD in YAs with cancer.
Methods: Canadian YAs (n=448) diagnosed between the ages of 15-39 were compared to 448 age, sex, and education matched controls randomly sampled from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey. The primary measure was the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Groups were compared using chi-square tests of independence. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the demographic, clinical and psychological factors associated with high (moderate/severe) PD in the YA cancer group.
Results: YAs with cancer reported significantly higher PD than their matched peers (24.89 vs. 15.75; p <.0005). In the multivariate model, income > $60,000 was associated with a reduced likelihood of high PD (AOR=0.51; p=0.02). Other factors associated with high PD in YAs with cancer include poor sleep (AOR=3.79; p=0.005), elevated fear of cancer recurrence (AOR=6.89; p<0.0005), body image dissatisfaction (AOR=2.78; p<0.0005), and less than high social support (average AOR=2.74; p=0.032; poor AOR=8.77; p<.0005). Age, sex, cancer stage and type, and time since diagnosis were among variables not associated with PD.
Conclusions: YAs with cancer experience significantly greater distress than their non-cancer peers. This distress is associated with modifiable factors such as sleep, fear of cancer recurrence, body image dissatisfaction, and social support, illustrating key areas for intervention.