The research has been published in the 'Psycho-Oncology Journal'. For the study, 805 individuals in Canada who were diagnosed with cancer between 15 and 39 years of age completed an online survey.
High psychological distress was present in more than two-thirds of the group (68.0 per cent). Those whose employment had been impacted during the pandemic and those with blood cancer were more likely to experience high psychological distress, while those who were older and those with a personal income in 2020 that was more than USD 40,000 tended to have lower distress.
Adolescents and young adults with cancer during the pandemic had an 85 per cent higher odds of experiencing psychological distress compared with a similar group surveyed in 2018. Overarching themes of pandemic experiences included inferior quality of life, impairment of cancer care, COVID-19-related concerns, and extreme social isolation.
"The pandemic has adversely impacted the mental health of adolescents and young adults with cancer," said senior author Sapna Oberoi, MBBS, MD, DM, of the University of Manitoba. "The findings of this study underscore the importance of providing enhanced and tailored interventions to combat psychological distress among these patients.
Cancer organizations and policymakers must prioritize mental health supports for adolescents and young adults with cancer to optimize their health outcomes and quality of life," she added.