Lower levels of psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic reported by cancer survivors in Hong Kong cancer patients compared with healthy individuals
Researchers at HKU SPH have investigated the psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among Hong Kong Chinese breast and colorectal cancer patients in a study conducted between the end of April and early May 2020. Their study, published in the journal Psycho-oncology, reports the results of a survey of 72 cancer survivors and 45 healthy controls, who responded to questions assessing their psychological distress during the pandemic. In women who were either cancer survivors or healthy controls, more psychological distress was associated with greater COVID-19-related catastrophizing, increased general health anxiety, and greater use of support-seeking to cope. While cancer survivors reported greater catastrophizing about COVID-19 and greater health anxiety, they reported less psychological distress. According to the authors, it may be unsurprising to observe greater health anxiety among cancer survivors. However, the cancer experience may prepare cancer survivors to respond better emotionally to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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