Risk for depression and anxiety in long-term survivors of hematologic cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

OBJECTIVE: An increasing number of hematologic cancer patients outlive 10 years past diagnosis. Nevertheless, few studies investigated psychological strain in this patient group beyond 5 years after diagnosis. We conducted a registry-based investigation of risk for depression and anxiety among long-term hematologic cancer survivors up to 26 years after diagnosis compared to the general population.

METHODS: In this cross-sectional postal survey, cancer survivors were recruited through 2 regional cancer registries in Germany. Depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) and anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7) were assessed. Survivor data were compared to age- and gender-matched comparison groups (CG) randomly drawn from large representative samples (N > 5,000).

RESULTS: Out of 2,001 eligible patients, 46% participated (n = 922). Survivors were significantly more likely than the CG to report elevated depressive (relative risk [RR] = 3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.2-4.3) and anxious symptomatology (RR = 1.7; 95% CI: 1.2-2.3). Depression scores remained high even in the survivor Group 12-26 years after diagnosis. RR for anxiety decreased to values comparable to the CG. Younger and middle-aged survivors (≤65 years) were at highest relative and absolute risk to be psychologically impaired.

CONCLUSION: This study shows that depression rather than anxiety is a prominent problem in long-term survivors of hematologic cancer. The results stress the importance of monitoring patients even years after diagnosing and supplying psychosocial support to patients in need. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

    Research areas

  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anxiety/psychology, Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology, Cancer Survivors/statistics & numerical data, Cross-Sectional Studies, Depression/psychology, Depressive Disorder/epidemiology, Female, Germany, Hematologic Neoplasms/pathology, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, Registries, Risk Factors, Young Adult

ID: 234701263