The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on quality of life in skin cancer patients

Jonas K. Kurzhals, Gina Klee, Hauke Busch, Victoria Hagelstein, Detlef Zillikens, Patrick Terheyden, Ewan A. Langan*

*Corresponding author for this work


With more than 82 million cases worldwide and almost two million deaths, the Covid-19 global pandemic shows little sign of abating. However, its effect on quality of life (QoL) in skin cancer patients has not been systematically evaluated to date. Given that QoL impairments may be associated with increased psychological morbidity, and may interfere with engagement with cancer therapy and follow-up, we prospectively evaluated quality of life in skin cancer patients using the Covid-19 Emotional Impact Survey (C-19EIS) and the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaires. 101 patients (48 females and 53 males) completed both questionnaires. The mean C-19EIS score was 3.8 on a scale from 0 (no impact) to 12 (severe impact). Patients undergoing systemic therapy showed significantly impaired physical (p = 0.006) and social functioning (p = 0.003). However, when compared to the published normative EORTC QLQ-C30 data, there was no evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic had significantly impacted upon overall quality of life. Subscales of the EORTC QLQ-C30 were significantly inversely correlated with the C-19EIS, validating its use in skin cancer patients. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, skin cancer patients in our tertiary referral center were surprisingly resilient. However, given the geographical variations in the rates of Sars-CoV-2 infection it is possible that the low incidence in Northern Germany may have resulted in a lack of general QoL impairments. Multi-center studies are required to further determine the impact of Covid-19 on psychological wellbeing in skin cancer patients in order to develop supportive interventions and to ensure that engagement with cancer care services is maintained in order to enable early detection of cancer progression and/or recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0255501
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - 08.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)

Coronavirus related work

  • Research on SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19


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