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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life in people living with and beyond breast, prostate and colorectal cancer - a qualitative study

Pini, Simon; Buck, Caroline; Lally, Phillippa; Beeken, Rebecca; Fisher, Abigail; (2024) The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life in people living with and beyond breast, prostate and colorectal cancer - a qualitative study. BMC Psychology , 12 (1) , Article 25. 10.1186/s40359-023-01471-1. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Individuals living with and beyond cancer are at heightened risk of adverse psychological and social outcomes and experiences. In March 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic presented a unique set of social circumstances with the potential to exacerbate the challenges faced by this population. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of people living with and beyond cancer during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and assess the impact on psychological and social aspects of their lives. METHODS: From a pool of participants from a larger health behaviours study thirty participants were purposively sampled for characteristics including: diagnostic group (breast, prostate and colorectal cancers), gender, time since diagnosis and age. Semi-structured interviews were conducted via telephone to discuss their experience of living through the pandemic. A thematic analysis was conducted using a needs-based approach to detail the fundamental needs expressed by this population in relation to their mental health and quality of life during the pandemic. RESULTS: Three fundamental needs underpinned the experiences expressed by participants: the need to feel safe; particularly in relation to risk of contracting COVID-19 and their ongoing cancer monitoring; the need to feel connected; to the people, places, activities and practices of everyday life; and the need to make the most out of life; specifically in context of having already endured cancer and cancer treatment. Participant experiences are described in relation to how they impacted each of these three needs. CONCLUSIONS: People living with and beyond cancer have past and ongoing experiences that make them vulnerable to adverse psychosocial reactions and outcomes. Support for this population needs to provide greater clarity of risk, clearer guidelines specific to their personal circumstances, and regular updates on scheduling of important follow up care and monitoring.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life in people living with and beyond breast, prostate and colorectal cancer - a qualitative study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s40359-023-01471-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-023-01471-1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2024 BioMed Central Ltd. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Cancer survivorship, Mental health, Needs, Pandemic, Qualitative, Covid-19
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10186143
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