Cancer Worry Linked to Continued Symptom Burden

Age, fatigue, and risk perception also significantly associated with lingering cancer worry

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Age, fatigue, symptom burden, and risk perception are significantly associated with greater cancer worry three years after completing adjuvant treatment for breast cancer, according to a study published online March 15 in Psycho-Oncology.

Kristin M. Phillips, Ph.D., from the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues analyzed responses from 202 stage 0 to II breast cancer patients regarding risk perception and cancer worry using the modified Lerman's Cancer Worry Scale. Symptom burden was assessed using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, and fatigue severity was assessed using the Fatigue Symptom Inventory. All questionnaires were completed three years following adjuvant treatment.

The researchers found that age, fatigue, symptom burden, and risk perception each explained a significant proportion of cancer worry in patients. When taken together, fatigue, symptom burden, and risk perception accounted for a significant portion (27 percent) of the variance in cancer worry, when controlling for demographic and clinical factors.

"The hypothesis was supported that fatigue, symptom burden, and risk perception are associated with cancer worry among breast cancer survivors," the authors write.

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