Patient-provider discussion about emotional and social needs, mental health outcomes, and benefit finding among U.S. Adults living with cancer



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Journal Article

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Publication Title

Cancer medicine





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BACKGROUND: A discussion about patient's nonmedical needs during treatment is considered a crucial component of high-quality patient-provider communication. We examined whether having a patient-provider discussion about cancer patients' emotional and social needs is associated with their psychological well-being. METHODS: Using the 2016-2017 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement (MEPS-ECSS) data, we identified the cancer survivors in the United States (US) who reported having a detailed discussion about emotional and social needs during cancer care. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess the association between having a patient-provider discussion and the patients' psychological well-being outcomes (depressive symptoms, severe psychological distress, and worrying about cancer recurrence/worsening condition) and benefit finding experience after a cancer diagnosis. RESULTS: Among 1433 respondents (equivalent to 13.8 million cancer survivors in the US), only 33.6% reported having a detailed patient-provider discussion about their emotional and social needs. Having a discussion was associated with 55% lower odds (odds ratio [OR], 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26-0.77) of having depressive symptoms and 97% higher odds (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.46-2.66) of having benefit finding experience. There was no statistically significant association between patient-provider discussion and psychological distress or worrying about cancer recurrence/worsening. CONCLUSION: Detailed patient-provider discussion about the cancer patients' emotional and social needs was associated with a lower likelihood of depressive symptoms and a higher likelihood of experiencing benefit finding. These findings stress the importance of improving the patient-provider discussion about psychosocial needs in cancer survivorship.