(HealthDay News) — Many caregivers of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) report mental health challenges, according to a study published online July 18 in Blood Advances.
Elizabeth K. O’Donnell, M.D., from the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional multisite study of patients with MM undergoing treatment and their caregivers. A total of 127 caregivers of patients with MM (43 newly diagnosed; 40 receiving two to three lines of therapy; and 44 receiving four or more lines of therapy) were enrolled, and completed questionnaires to assess their quality of life (QOL), psychological distress, and perceptions of prognosis.
The researchers observed no difference in caregiver QOL or psychological distress by line of therapy. Overall, 44.1, 15.8, and 24.4 percent had clinically significant anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, respectively. Caregivers reported higher rates of clinically significant anxiety compared to patients with MM, when examined in dyads (44.4 versus 22.5 percent). Overall, 84.2 percent of the caregivers reported that they had been informed by the oncologist that the patient’s cancer was incurable, but only 50.9 and 53.6 percent acknowledged that the patient’s cancer was terminal and incurable, respectively.
“Future research should focus on the delivery of adequate psychosocial support throughout the disease course and on the optimal delivery of prognostic information,” the authors write.