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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 597-598

Forgotten dimension of cancer caregivers and patients: Psychosocial perspective


Department of Psychiatric Social Work, Neurosurgery Unit, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication31-Aug-2017

Correspondence Address:
Raju Birudu
Department of Psychiatric Social Work, Neurosurgery Unit, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.187353

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How to cite this article:
Birudu R. Forgotten dimension of cancer caregivers and patients: Psychosocial perspective. J Can Res Ther 2017;13:597-8

How to cite this URL:
Birudu R. Forgotten dimension of cancer caregivers and patients: Psychosocial perspective. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 May 27];13:597-8. Available from: http://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2017/13/3/597/187353



Sir,

Greetings!

With reference to the article in the previous issue of the JCRT 2016; 12, (1), on exploring the “Caregivers' depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization as predictors of identical symptoms in cancer patients,” I would like to congratulate and appreciate the authors for their conscientious attempt to scientifically address an important, yet overlooked aspect of caregivers psychological problems and its impact on cancer patients.[1] The author's effort to identify the relationship of caregivers depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization as predictors of identical symptoms in cancers is a great step forward and may pave way to many similar larger studies in the future, especially to design disease-specific to identify psychosocial problems of cancer caregivers and cancer patients.

Understanding psychological problems especially caregivers and patients in neuro-oncology demands time, energy, dedication, and commitment. Consciously looking at psychological issues of caregivers as well as patient's depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization variables and its association each other is really commendable. In addition, many researchers explored and quantified the level of depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization variables either on caregivers or patients independently.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] Previous research studies proved that anyway patients may undergo and experience depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization problems due to illness, but many times burden of caregivers of cancer patients, their psychological problems, and its influence on patient's psychological conditions were underestimated and unaddressed.[7],[8]

In this correlation study, out of total 200 purposively selected participants; of which, 100 were caregivers and 100 were patients. These patients were suffering from a variety of cancers such as head and neck, gynecological, breast, stomach, lungs, and liver cancer. The authors had established rapport with the participants, and given clear cut necessary instructions to patients and caregivers. Both caregivers and patient's concerns were debriefed after administration of study tools that shows authors caring attitude and how sensible they are to handle psychosocial issues of cancer caregivers and cancer patients. The use of statistics such as product-moment correlations, simple and multilinear regression analysis strengthened the methodology and brought the results more trustworthy.

This study had many positive outcomes that correlate with caregivers depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization as predictors of identical symptoms in cancers patients. Significant positive correlations were found between caregivers' depression and patient's depression, the caregivers' depression and patients' anxiety. There was a significant positive relation between caregivers' anxiety and patients depression, caregivers' anxiety and patients anxiety caregivers' distress and patients depression, caregivers' distress and patients' anxiety, caregivers' somatization and patients depression, caregivers' somatization and patients anxiety. There was a significant negative correlation found between caregivers' age and patient's somatization for the entire sample of caregivers and patients. The same was evident from simple linear and multiple linear regression analysis results depicted that caregivers' depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization explained 12% of the variance in patient's depression. To caregivers depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization variables explained 17% of the variance in patient's anxiety as predictors.

Subgroup analysis on caregiver's and patient's depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization with gender, stage of the tumor, and socioeconomic status would have been given a better understanding to what extent these variables causing psychological problems. Additional information about with respect to caregivers: (a) previous care giving experience, (b) knowledge levels (c) coping strategies used by caregivers (d) caregiver burden and social support (e) caregiver resiliency levels; with respect to patients: (a) patient's awareness and knowledge on disease (b) health seeking behavior of the patients and treatment regimen received (c) level of acceptance and current level of functionality (d) caregiver and patient interaction (e) professional interaction with patients and their satisfaction levels would have been made this study more robust and relevant in the present context. On a concluding note, this was a well-conceptualized, well-intended, well-done study that can serve as a framework for many future studies to understand psychosocial problems of cancer caregivers and cancer survivors. This study also helps for many health-care professionals to design appropriate psychosocial interventions to ensure the psychosocial well-being of both cancer caregivers, patients and family members.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
 > References Top

1.
Padmaja G, Vanlalhruaii C, Rana S, Nandinee D, Hariharan M. Care givers' depression, anxiety, distress, and somatization as predictors of identical symptoms in cancer patients. J Cancer Res Ther 2016;12:53-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Nipp RD, El-Jawahri A, Fishbein JN, Gallagher ER, Stagl JM, Park ER, et al. Factors associated with depression and anxiety symptoms in family caregivers of patients with incurable cancer. Ann Oncol 2016. pii: Mdw205.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Balfe M, Maguire R, Hanly P, Butow P, O'Sullivan E, Timmons A, et al. Distress in long-term head and neck cancer carers: A qualitative study of carers' perspectives. J Clin Nurs 2016. [In press]  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Härtl K, Schennach R, Müller M, Engel J, Reinecker H, Sommer H, et al. Quality of life, anxiety, and oncological factors: A follow-up study of breast cancer patients. Psychosomatics 2010;51:112-23.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Chaturvedi SK, Maguire GP. Persistent somatization in cancer: A controlled follow-up study. J Psychosom Res 1998;45:249-56.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Murray SA, Kendall M, Boyd K, Grant L, Highet G, Sheikh A. Archetypal trajectories of social, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing and distress in family care givers of patients with lung cancer: Secondary analysis of serial qualitative interviews. BMJ 2010;340:c2581.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Krebber AM, Jansen F, Cuijpers P, Leemans CR, Verdonck-de Leeuw IM. Screening for psychological distress in follow-up care to identify head and neck cancer patients with untreated distress. Support Care Cancer 2016;24:2541-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Balfe M, O'Brien K, Timmons A, Butow P, O' Sullivan E, Gooberman-Hill R, et al. The unmet supportive care needs of long-term head and neck cancer caregivers in the extended survivorship period. J Clin Nurs 2016;25:1576-86.  Back to cited text no. 8
    




 

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