AIM The purpose of the study was to determine anxiety and depression, quality of life, and their determinants in long-term survivors of malignant melanoma. METHODS In a state cancer registry a cohort of survivors of malignant melanoma was contacted via the physician registered. Of 1302 contactable patients, 689 (52.2%) completed a questionnaire including the Patient Health Questionnaire with generalized anxiety (GAD-7) and depression (PHQ-9) and the EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ 30). Based on multiple regression analysis, predictors of quality of life and distress were identified. Comparison data were assessed in two waves of representative face-to-face household surveys of the adult German population. RESULTS An average of 8.4 (5.7 to 12.2) years after diagnosis, distress was higher in women compared to men and in middle adulthood (vs. older patients). Symptoms were higher in women than in men, and there was a decline of functioning and increase of symptoms across the age range of both genders. Compared to the general population, there were slightly increased depression and anxiety (only women), but no impaired global quality of life. Yet, survivors evidenced functional decline and more physical symptoms. Distress and reduced quality of life were consistently predicted by lack of social support, fear of recurrence, pessimism and self-blame. Distress was increased by a family history of melanoma, and additional mental and somatic diseases. CONCLUSION Overall, long-term survivors have adjusted well achieving a global quality of life comparable to the general population. Yet, compromised functional dimensions, physical symptoms and distress indicate the need for integrating psychooncological screening into oncological follow-up, which might be guided by predictors such as family history or social support. Further prospective study is needed to determine the course of adaptation to the disease and corroborate the risk factors identified.
Beutel, M. E., Fischbeck, S., Binder, H., Blettner, M., Brähler, E., Emrich, K., … Zeissig, S. R. (2015). Depression, anxiety and quality of life in long-term survivors of malignant melanoma: a register-based cohort study. PloS One, 10(1), e0116440. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0116440