Elephants And Tea - June 2020 - 36

Conversation

RESEARCH

sample in the figure below was small
(N=21), up to 70% of young people
report worries about receiving a new
cancer diagnosis.
Though we stratified responses
by gender, there were more female
participants so it would not be right
to assume that young women worry
more. Maybe, there also exist differences in how men and women report
their worries!
GRAPH #2 - DEPRESSION and
ANXIETY among the participants
When talking about psychological
distress in cancer patients, we most

commonly turn to depression and
anxiety. In our study we assess both.
The graph below shows the two scales,
and the higher the score, the higher the
level of depression or anxiety, respectively. The blue lines stand for clinically
determined cut-off scores. This means
that individuals scoring above those
lines might reach a threshold for a clinical diagnosis.
Please note that depression and
anxiety are very hard to measure,
especially in cancer populations! For
example, fatigue, often a symptom of
depression, might just be a side effect
of illness or treatment itself. Research-

25

20

In treatment

15

Depression

No
Yes

Study arm

10

Other
Slovenia

5

0
0

5

10

Anxiety

15

20

ers are working hard to develop better
ways to assess mental states of cancer
patients.
The graph below shows participants
from 2 arms of the study, Slovenian
and English, and indicates who is in
treatment at the time of participation.
This was done with two objectives in
mind; individuals in treatment might
be experiencing higher levels of distress (inconclusive!), and Slovenian
participants seem to be clustered
lower on both scales.
Is this a result of actual differences
in levels of depression and anxiety
between the different groups, or rather a cultural difference in reporting
symptoms? Hard to say!
GRAPH #3 - POSITIVE & NEGATIVE
factors contributing to the
EXPERIENCE of DIAGNOSIS
For most young people facing cancer
is the first time they have to actively
engage with the health care systems.
Navigating through all the tests,
appointments, and shuffle between
various departments can be difficult.
Initial consultations and the way we
receive diagnoses can really taint the
entire experience - first impressions
matter!
In our study we ask about individual experiences with receiving the
diagnosis. The graph below demon-

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?

I am always keen to engage in a conversation, listen to participants' feedback and comments and try to answer any questions that might come up! Please do not hesitate to reach out: urska.kosir@psy.ox.ac.uk!
If you would like to learn more, full references to the academic works can be found at the links below:
* Cancer worry figure and elaboration of preliminary findings can be accessed here https://psyarxiv.com/d3cjy
* The graphs for anxiety, depression, and factors influencing experience of diagnosis are part of a project that looked at the
Slovenian participants. Full text is available here https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.01.20049296v1

36

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
JUNE 2020


https://www.psyarxiv.com/d3cjy https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.01.20049296v1 http://www.elephantsandtea.com

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