MEDICAL ONCOLOGY, cilt.29, ss.1371-1377, 2012 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
The objective of this study was to analyze the extent of stressful life events' etiology and to compare socio-demographic and medical characteristics of the presence and absence of stress in Turkish cancer patients. Patients with cancer who attended ambulatory patient care units answered the questionnaires. Medical information was reviewed from chart data. The study population comprised 465 women (60.5%) and 303 men (39.5%), in total 768 cases. The median age was 53 years, ranging between 18 and 94. Three-hundred and twenty patients (41.7%) had at least one type of stress since last year of the time of initial diagnosis. Among patients had stress, the median number of stress modalities presented was 1 (range 1-6). Death, lack of livelihood, quarrel, illness, and debt almost always consisted of stress types. History of stress within last year was found more in women (66.3% vs. 56.5%, P = 0.006) and overweight patients (57.5% vs. 47.2%, P = 0.005). Similarly, among cancer types, only patients with breast cancer (41.9% vs. 31.7%, P = 0.04) had lived more stressful situation. However, the married patients (72.2% vs. 80.6%, P = 0.03) had less stress. Patients with gastric cancer had more frequent debt (29.0%, P < 0.001) and lack of livelihood history (21.4%, P = 0.001). Additionally, in lung cancer patients, their rate of livelihood difficulty was highly less than average (2.4%, P = 0.003). We found that overweight patients had more illness history (68.9% vs. 51.6%, P = 0.004), patients who were not working had more death history (89.7% vs. 78%, P = 0.01), and female patients had more quarrel history (78.2% vs. 60.5%, P = 0.002). Likewise, history of debt in patients who is a member of large family (56.2% vs. 27.4%, P = 0.01) was more frequent. Additionally, the lack of livelihood was prominent in urban patients (92.8% vs. 78.6%, P = 0.002) and in patients with low income (48.5% vs. 66.7%, P = 0.004). The question of whether or not psychological factors originated from stressful life events have an influence on cancer initiation and progression is still unanswered after several decades of research. Future studies might benefit from better well-designed articulated hypotheses, prospective design, and large study populations to ensure adequate knowledge.