Symptom hyper-expression in advanced cancer patients with anxiety and depression admitted to an acute supportive/palliative care unit

Andrea Cortegiani, Alessandra Casuccio, Claudio Adile, Sebastiano Mercadante, Patrizia Ferrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare symptom expression in advanced cancer patients with depression and anxiety and in patients with no such symptoms. Methods: Secondary analysis of a previous study assessing the role of an acute palliative supportive care unit (APSCU) in a comprehensive cancer center. Patients completed the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) at admission (T0) and 7 days after or at discharge (T7). Results: Three hundred-fourteen consecutive cancer patients admitted to the APSCU were surveyed. Eighty-six and 66 patients improved their level of depression and anxiety, respectively (passing from ≥ 4 to 0–3, from T0 to T7), after that palliative care intervention resulted in a significant improvement of the other symptoms. Changes were statistically significant for both symptoms (P < 0.0005). Patients admitted for uncontrolled pain were more likely to be anxious, while patients admitted for other symptoms or end-of-life care were more likely to be depressed. The presence of anxiety and depression (≥ 4/10 on ESAS) was significantly associated with a higher level of symptom expression at admission and at T7 (P < 0.0005). In patients presenting both psychological symptoms, symptom expression was significantly more relevant in comparison with patients not reporting moderate-severe psychological symptoms. Pain and depression were independently associated with anxiety at T0. Variables independently associated with depression at T0 were drowsiness, appetite, and anxiety. Conclusions: Psychological symptoms of ESAS concur to hyper-express some symptoms and make symptom control more difficult. A clear association between anxiety and depression exists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3081-3088
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume27
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology

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