Patients with cancer face both physical and emotional challenges throughout their diagnosis and treatment. A recent study, led by Yıldız İpek, MD, sought to characterize any difference in anxiety levels between patients who were receiving either oral or intravenous (IV) chemotherapeutic agents for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
In their analysis, featured at the 2023 Society of Hematologic Oncology Annual Meeting, Dr. İpek and colleagues determined that patients who were receiving IV treatments had higher anxiety scores compared with those receiving oral treatments. Additionally, patients who were previously treated had lower anxiety levels, “possibly due to their prior experience,” the authors suggested.
IV Cancer Treatments Associated with Increased Anxiety
Anxiety was observed in all patients, though authors noted female patients had generally higher levels of anxiety. “The presence of moderate and high-grade anxiety in both groups highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, including psychiatry, in the comprehensive treatment of cancer,” the authors concluded.
The study enrolled 13 male and 8 female patients with a median age of 64.2 years who had a diagnosis within the past 5 years and no prior psychiatric treatments. Of the 21 patients, 10 were receiving first-line treatment and 11 had prior treatments and subsequent relapse. Oral cancer agents included ibrutinib, obinutuzumab venetoclax, and rituximab venetoclax. Participants’ degrees of anxiety were evaluated with multiple scoring tools at the start of treatment.
Overall, Dr. İpek and colleagues reported that “the study suggests that addressing anxiety is crucial for both patients and their relatives throughout the long and challenging cancer treatment process.”