Cancer-Related Worry in Canadian Thyroid Cancer Survivors
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CONTEXT: Little is known about cancer-related worry in thyroid cancer survivors. OBJECTIVES: We quantified cancer-related worry in Canadian thyroid cancer survivors and explored associated factors. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We performed a cross-sectional, self-administered, written survey of thyroid cancer survivor members of the Thyroid Cancer Canada support group. Independent factors associated with cancer-related worry were identified using a multivariable linear regression analysis. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: We used the Assessment of Survivor Concerns (ASC) questionnaire, which includes questions on worry about diagnostic tests, second primary malignancy, recurrence, dying, health, and children's health. RESULTS: The response rate for eligible members was 60.1% (941 of 1567). Most respondents were women (89.0%; 837 of 940), and the age was < 50 years in 54.0% of participants (508 of 941). Thyroid cancer was diagnosed within ≤ 5 years in 66.1% of participants (622 of 940). The mean overall ASC score was 15.34 (SD, 4.7) (on a scale from 6 [least worry] to 24 [most worry]). Factors associated with increased ASC score included: younger age (P < .001), current suspected or proven recurrent/persistent disease (ie, current proven active disease or abnormal diagnostic tests) (P < .001), partnered marital status (P = .021), having children (P = .029), and ≤5 years since thyroid cancer diagnosis (P = .017). CONCLUSIONS: In a population of Canadian thyroid cancer survivors, cancer-related worry was greatest in younger survivors and those with either confirmed or suspected disease activity. Family status and time since thyroid cancer diagnosis were also associated with increased worry. More research is needed to confirm these findings and to develop effective preventative and supportive strategies for those at risk.
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