Mental health and adherence to covid-19 protective behaviors among cancer patients during the covid-19 pandemic: An international, multinational cross-sectional study

Kassianos A. P., Georgiou A., Kyprianidou M., Lamnisos D., Ļubenko J., Presti G., ...More

Cancers, vol.13, no.24, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 24
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/cancers13246294
  • Journal Name: Cancers
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: Cancer patients, COVID-19, Health behaviors, Mental health, Protection behaviors
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted during the first COVID-19 wave, to examine the impact of COVID-19 on mental health using an anonymous online survey, enrolling 9565 individuals in 78 countries. The current sub-study examined the impact of the pandemic and the associated lockdown measures on the mental health, and protective behaviors of cancer patients in comparison to non-cancer participants. Furthermore, 264 participants from 30 different countries reported being cancer patients. The median age was 51.5 years, 79.9% were female, and 28% had breast cancer. Cancer participants reported higher self-efficacy to follow recommended national guidelines regarding COVID-19 protective behaviors compared to non-cancer participants (p < 0.01). They were less stressed (p < 0.01), more psychologically flexible (p < 0.01), and had higher levels of positive affect compared to non-cancer participants. Amongst cancer participants, the majority (80.3%) reported COVID-19, not their cancer, as their priority during the first wave of the pandemic and females reported higher levels of stress compared to males. In conclusion, cancer participants appeared to have handled the unpredictable nature of the first wave of the pandemic efficiently, with a positive attitude towards an unknown and otherwise frightening situation. Larger, cancer population specific and longitudinal studies are warranted to ensure adequate medical and psychological care for cancer patients.