BACKGROUND: This longitudinal study aimed to analyze the prevalence of psychological distress in esophageal cancer survivors, using claims data in South Korea.
METHODS: From January 2010 to December 2014, we identified the four most frequent psychological distress in a nationwide cohort of 8,879 patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer. We analyzed the prevalence and the pattern of psychological distress before and after the initial treatment.
RESULTS: Among esophageal cancer patients, 669 patients (7.5%) were diagnosed with a psychological distress between 1 year prior to initial treatment and the time of last follow-up. Among them, depression and anxiety had a similar frequency of 237 (35.4%). The overall frequency of psychological distress peaked within 2 months after the initial treatment. Stress reaction/adjustment disorders showed the highest increase rate after treatment. The rate of patients who had psychological distress was higher among those who underwent surgery as their initial treatment than in those who received radiotherapy [odds ratio (OR): 1.39, P<0.001]. Further, female patients were more likely to be diagnosed with psychological distress compared with male patients (OR: 1.30, P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Psychological distress in esophageal cancer survivors showed different patterns of prevalence depending on the nature of disease, sex, and initial treatment. Considering individual factors, timely diagnosis and intervention for psychological distress could improve the quality of life for esophageal cancer survivors.
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