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Perspectives, Knowledge, and Fears of Cancer Patients About COVID-19

Authors
  • Guven, Deniz Can
  • Sahin, Taha Koray
  • Aktepe, Oktay Halit
  • Yildirim, Hasan Cagri
  • Aksoy, Sercan
  • Kilickap, Saadettin
Type
Published Article
Journal
Frontiers in Oncology
Publisher
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Aug 28, 2020
Volume
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01553
PMID: 33014800
PMCID: PMC7493662
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is expected to significantly affect cancer patients due to adverse outcomes with COVID-19 and disruptions in cancer care. Another important point is the stress and anxiety burden of COVID-19, which could affect quality of life. Patient education is vital due to the vulnerability of the topic to disinformation. To determine the areas needing improvements in patient education, and coping with stress, the burden of the problem should be pictured. From this point, we aimed to assess the perspectives and fears of cancer patients about COVID-19 with resources of COVID-19 knowledge with a questionnaire. A total of 250 adult cancer patients applied to the outpatient chemotherapy unit of Hacettepe University Cancer Center between May 27, 2020, and June 9, 2020, invited to answer a questionnaire of 13 multiple-choice questions with a return rate of 78% (195/250). Most patients acquired their knowledge about COVID-19 from television (91.9%). Social media were the second most common source of knowledge (43.8%) with a predilection in younger patients, nonsmokers, targeted therapy- or immunotherapy-treated patients, and breast cancer patients (>65 vs. <65 years of age, p = 0.057; nonsmoker vs. ever-smoker, p = 0.036; targeted therapy and immunotherapy vs. chemotherapy, p = 0.004; breast cancer vs. other cancers, p = 0.019). The percentage of patients seeing the information about COVID-19 as adequate (38.9%) or inadequate (35.1%) was similar. More than 90% of the patients had a moderate to severe degree of COVID-19 fear. In addition, 27.6% of patients had false knowledge of glove using as a protective measure for COVID-19. More than half of the patients had another wrong knowledge as the need for the supplements for COVID-19 protection. A significant percentage of patients (84.7%) expected some level of disruption in oncological care with the expectation of a moderate-to-severe disruption was more common in the advanced-stage patients ( p = 0.026). In our experience, most cancer patients had a significant degree of fear about both infecting COVID-19 and the disruption of cancer care by COVID-19. A significant amount of our patients had wrong information about the protection necessities, which denotes the need for better patient education about COVID-19.

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