Is fear of COVID-19 influencing cancer patients to report for follow-up? experience from a tertiary care oncology center in eastern India
Keywords:COVID-19, Fear, Gynecological cancer, Follow-up, Patient perspective
Background: The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to the implementation of lockdown in India in March, 2020 which has posed a great challenge for both oncologic health care providers and cancer survivors alike as cancer patients have been unable to report for follow-up visits due to the same. The present study aims to assess the psychological impact of COVID -19 on female cancer patients undergoing treatment in a tertiary care oncology centre in Eastern India.
Methods: The present study is a prospective cross-sectional study conducted on 80 female patients who were undergoing treatment for various gynecologic malignancies at a tertiary care oncology cancer centre in Eastern India. Fear of COVID-19 scale (FCV-19S) was used to assess the psychological impact of COVID-19 among the study population. Telephonic interviews were also conducted to collect data. Data was analysed using Microsoft excel and Statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20.
Results: Seventy-eight percent of the patients were afraid of contracting COVID-19 on coming out of their house, higher number of poorly educated patients had fear of the COVID-19 infection. Fifty-one percent patients were ‘very fearful’ of the COVID-19 infection and the most common cause of fear was of ‘losing life due to corona virus’. Eighty-six percent of the patients found talking to the doctor telephonically reassuring.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has instilled fear and anxiety among the patients of gynecological cancer preventing them to report for follow-up. Alternative strategies need to explored to render effective follow-up care to oncology patients.
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