• Evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on supportive care needs, psychological distress and 3 quality of life in UK cancer survivors and their support network.

      Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Leslie, Monica; Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Smith, Eilidh; Howells, Lesley; Pinato, David J; University of Chester; Maggie's Cancer Centres; Imperial College London
      Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic is having considerable impact on cancer care, including restricted access to hospital-based care, treatment and psychosocial support. We investigated the impact on unmet needs and psychosocial wellbeing. Methods: 144 participants (77% female), including people with cancer and their support networks, were recruited. The most prevalent diagnosis was breast cancer. Forty-one participants recruited pre-pandemic were compared with 103 participants recruited during the COVID-19 pandemic. We measured participants’ unmet supportive care needs, psychological distress and quality of life. Results: Half of our patient respondents reported unexpected changes to treatment following pandemic onset, with widespread confusion about their longer-term consequences. Although overall need levels have not increased, specific needs have changed in prominence. People with cancer reported significantly reduced anxiety (p=.049) and improved quality of life (p=.032) following pandemic onset, but support network participants reported reduced quality of life (p=.009), and non-significantly elevated anxiety, stress and depression. Conclusion: Psychological wellbeing of people with cancer has not been detrimentally affected by pandemic onset. Reliance on home-based support to compensate for the lost availability of structured healthcare pathways may, however, explain significant and detrimental effects on the wellbeing and quality of life of people in their support and informal care networks.