Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Emotional Distress in Patients Undergoing Radiotherapy for Lung Cancer

Dirk Rades*, Ahmed Al-Salool, Sabine Bohnet, Nathan Y. Yu

*Corresponding author for this work


Background/Aim: Quality of life of patients with lung cancer can be impaired by psychological distress. This study evaluated prevalence of and risk factors for emotional distress in patients undergoing radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. Patients and Methods: Fourteen potential risk factors were retrospectively investigated in 144 patients. Emotional distress was evaluated with the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer. Values of p<0.0036 (Bonferroni correction) were considered significant. Results: At least one emotional problem (worry, fear, sadness, depression, nervousness, loss of interest) was reported by the majority of patients (N=93, 65%). Prevalence of these problems was 37%, 38%, 31%, 15%, 32% and 23%, respectively. Physical problems were significantly associated with worry (p=0.0029), fear (p=0.0030), sadness (p<0.0001), depression (p=0.0008), nervousness (p<0.0001), and loss of interest (p<0.0001). Age ≤69 years was associated with worry (p=0.0003), and female sex with fear (p=0.0002) and sadness (p=0.0026). Trends were found for associations of age with sadness (p=0.045), female sex with nervousness (p=0.034), and chemoradiotherapy with worry (p=0.027). Conclusion: Many patients with lung cancer experience emotional distress. Early psycho-oncological assistance may be important, particularly for high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)2111-2118
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 05.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-30 Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, Radiation Therapy and Radiobiology
  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology


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