Objectives: The Distress Thermometer (DT) is a promising instrument to get insight into distress experienced by cancer patients. At our Family Cancer Clinic the DT, including an adapted problem list, was completed by 100 women at increased risk of developing hereditary breast cancer (mean age 45.2 years; SD: 10.5). Additionally, the women filled in either the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale as psychological component (n=48) or the somatic subscale of the Symptom Checklist-90 as somatic component (n=50) to identify associations with the DT-score. Further, the women filled in an evaluation form. Results: The median score on the DT was 2 (range: 0-9). With regression analysis adjusted for age, the contribution of mood and somatic complaints, respectively, was investigated. The standardized regression coefficient for anxiety was 0.32 (ns), for depression 0.14 (ns) and for the somatic subscale 0.49 (p<0.001). The explained variance for anxiety and depression was 16%, and for somatic complaints 24%. The differences between the coefficients were not significant. Evaluation forms were returned by 73 women. In 50% of the cases, the physician had discussed the DT/problem list, which was appreciated by the majority of these women (80%). Sixty-two percent of the women would recommend the use of the DT for other patients. Conclusion: The use of the DT/problem list seems promising for the current population, and was appreciated by the majority of the women. As mood and somatic complaints did not differ significantly in explaining the experienced distress, other candidate factors need to be examined. Copyright

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Keywords Breast cancer, Distress thermometer, Oncology, Psychological distress
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1002/pon.1451, hdl.handle.net/1765/24119
Citation
van Dooren, S, Duivenvoorden, H.J, Passchier, J, Bannink, M, Tan, M.B.M, Oldenmenger, W.H, … van der Rijt, C.C.D. (2009). The Distress Thermometer assessed in women at risk of developing hereditary breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology: journal of the psychological, social and behavioral dimensions of cancer, 18(10), 1080–1087. doi:10.1002/pon.1451