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COVID-19 and Thyroid Malignancies: Italian Researchers Focus on Quality of Life

By: Jenna Carter, PhD
Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

In an article published in Frontiers in Oncology, Italian researchers surveyed patients with thyroid malignancies to explore the impact of COVID-19 on their emotional well-being and quality of life. Cosimo Durante, MD, PhD, of Sapienza University of Rome, and colleagues found that survey scores indicated heightened concern over the outbreak.

“In stressful times like these, listening to and learning from our patients, addressing their concerns and expectations to the best of our ability, continue to be fundamental to our ability to provide high-value care,” stated Dr. Durante and colleagues.

A total of 137 patients were asked to complete an online, six-item questionnaire (COVID-19 Emotional Impact Survey, C-19EIS). For validation purposes, participants also completed an online version of the validated Italian translation of the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire. Responses were then analyzed in relation to age, sex, and clinical status.

The results revealed a median COVID-19 concern score of 8 out of 12; however, concern scores were significantly higher in women than in men (P = .048). They also reported that scores were higher in patients younger than age 65 than in those aged 65 or older (P = .013). There appeared to be no significant differences across clinical status groups, although their analysis of answers to single questions revealed sex-related and age-related differences. Compared to men, women were more likely to report fear (77.5% vs. 50%; P = .02) and/or substantial emotional stress (“quite a bit” or “very much” 67.5% vs. 26.7%; P = .008).

Dr. Durante and colleagues concluded: “[These surveys] will provide a useful baseline for evaluating the alternative forms of patient-clinician interaction and their efficacy in alleviating our cancer patients' fears during [the] COVID-19 pandemic.”

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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