We present the results and conclusions of an observational prospective cohort design study using self-administered questionnaires to determine correlation between psychosocial factors and cancer outcome among 80 consecutive newly diagnosed treatment naïve cancer subjects who were being referred to the Oncology Clinic, Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Subjects were recruited over a period of 43 weeks from October 2000 till July 2001. Follow-up assessments were carried out at 6-months and 12 to 26 months later. The prediction of survival time was performed by the Cox Regression Analysis method with adjustments for biological and psychosocial risk factors. It was noted that depression (p = 0.001), stage 4 cancer disease (p = 0.016), neurological (p = 0.032), gastrointestinal tract (p = 0.04), head and neck (p = 0.011), gynaecological (p = 0.005) and bone and soft tissue (p = 0.030) malignancies were independent and statistically significant prognostic factor of survival during the study period. It was further shown than depressed patients were found to have almost four fold greater risk of dying than non-depressed patients and patients with stage 4 cancer illness have a five fold greater risk of dying than patients with stage 1 disease. Furthermore, based on tumour types subjects with neurological, gynaecological, head and neck, bone and soft tissue and gastro intestinal tract malignancies were found to have approximately thirty-six, twenty-five, twenty-two, sixteen and seven fold greater risk of dying respectively when compared to subjects with genitourinary cancers. This study further affirms the need for health care providers to be aware of the psychological aspects of the cancer patient and provide appropriate therapy so as to ensure that this group of individuals would have enhanced survival rates.
Study site: Oncology clinic, Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM)
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