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In Cancer Patients, PTSD May Increase Symptom Burden

Post-traumatic stress symptoms also linked to lower risk of readmission in hospitalized CA patients

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TUESDAY, June 26, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among hospitalized patients with cancer are associated with a greater psychological and physical symptom burden as well as a decreased risk of hospital readmissions, according to a study published online June 15 in Cancer.

Ryan D. Nipp, M.D., M.P.H., from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, and colleagues explored relationships among PTSD symptoms, physical and psychological symptom burden, and risk for hospital readmissions among 954 prospectively enrolled patients with cancer admitted for an unplanned hospitalization from August 2015 to April 2017.

The researchers found that 13.3 percent of patients screened positive for PTSD symptoms. The 90-day hospital readmission rate was 38.9 percent. Higher PTSD scores were seen among patients with younger age, female sex, greater comorbidities, and genitourinary cancer type. There was an association between patients' PTSD symptoms and physical symptoms, total symptom burden, depression, and anxiety symptoms. PTSD symptoms were associated with a lower risk of hospital readmissions (hazard ratio, 0.81).

"Interventions to address patients' PTSD symptoms are needed and should account for their physical and psychological symptom burden," write the authors.

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