Author(s): Johnson RL, Gold MA, Wyche KF
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The NCCN Distress Thermometer (DT) was administered to 143 women undergoing chemotherapy for gynecologic cancer over a two-year period. This report describes the frequency and character of psychological distress in this population and examines the effect of disease, treatment, and demographic variables on levels of distress. METHOD: The DT is a self-administered scale for patients to rate their level of distress from 0 to 10, where 0 represents no distress and 10 represents extreme distress. Further, patients are asked to choose from among 34 items that constitute sources of distress within the last week. All women who were undergoing their first chemotherapy treatment at the outpatient clinic at the University of Oklahoma Cancer Institute for either primary disease or recurrent disease were asked by the clinical nurses to complete the assessment prior to that first infusion. RESULTS: Over half (57\%) of women reported a score of 4 or greater on the DT and were then assessed by the oncology psychologist. Women who were younger than age 60 and single were more likely to be distressed. There were no associations between the type of cancer, stage of cancer, or insurance status. CONCLUSIONS: A significant percentage (57\%) of these women experienced distress at levels that indicate further evaluation is indicated. This study suggests that early screening and evaluation are essential in this group of cancer patients. (c) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This article was published in Psychooncology
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation