Study Identifies Risk Factors for Increased Worry in Patients With Skin Cancer

Social factors, unemployment, and a prior history of melanoma were associated with greater baseline cancer worry among patients with skin cancers, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The study included 637 patients who underwent dermatologic surgery at a tertiary cancer center. Patients prospectively completed the Cancer Worry Scale (score of 0-100; higher score equals more worry) prior to surgery. The scale assesses worry of recurrence, anxiety about cancer, worry of cancer spreading, worry of cancer interfering with daily activities, relationships, etc.

A total of 222 patients completed the questionnaire and had a mean time between surgery and survey completion of 8.3 weeks.

Patients reported significantly lower scores after surgery (mean, 41.3±20.5; P<0.001) compared with baseline (mean, 49.3).

Which factors impact worry?

The following factors were associated with greater baseline cancer worry:

  • Unmarried
  • Unemployed
  • Living alone
  • History of melanoma

The following factors were not associated with cancer worry:

  • Gender
  • Type of skin cancer
  • Anatomic location
  • Tumor size