Considerations about risk of ongoing distress: what can we learn from repeat screening?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Supportive Care in Cancer, 2022, 30, (2), pp. 1011-1014
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The importance of routine distress screening in cancer patients is widely acknowledged, though non-compliance with screening protocols is common. Cited reasons for non-adherence include lack of time and expertise and concerns about the resources associated with the identification and management of clinically relevant distress. This commentary examines changes in distress among people with cancer who participated in a tele-based psychosocial intervention, from the point of initial distress screening to 12 months after commencing the intervention. The goal is to contribute to the discussion about the potential infrastructure requirements of implementing screening programs among screening 'hesitant' cancer care services. Secondary analysis showed a general downward distress trajectory though the greatest reduction occurred between recruitment and baseline and before receiving a low-intensity psychosocial intervention (β =  - 1.84, 95% CI - 2.12, - 1.56). While acknowledging transience of distress in some patients, our results support the possible therapeutic benefit of assessing and validating individuals' distress in the hope of preventing the development of more overt health problems associated with undiagnosed and untreated symptoms.
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