Purpose: Previous studies have reported that over a third of cancer patients experience significant psychological distress with diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Mental adjustment to cancer as well as other biologic and demographic factors may be associated with their distress. We investigated the relationship between mental adjustment and distress in patients with thyroid cancer prior to thyroidectomy. Materials and Methods: One hundred and fifty-two thyroid cancer patients were included in the final analysis. After global distress levels were screened with a distress thermometer, patients were evaluated concerning mental adjustment to cancer, as well as demographic and cancer-related characteristics. A thyroid function test was also performed. Regression analysis was performed to discern significant factors associated with distress in thyroid cancer patients. Results: Our regression model was significant and explained 38.5% of the total variance in distress of this patient group. Anxious-preoccupation and helpless-hopeless factors on the mental adjustment to cancer scale were significantly associated with distress in thyroid cancer patients. Conclusion: Negative emotional response to cancer diagnosis may be associated with distress in thyroid cancer patients awaiting thyroidectomy. Screening of mental coping strategies at the beginning of cancer treatment may predict psychological distress in cancer patients. Further studies on the efficacy of psychiatric intervention during cancer treatment may be needed for patients showing maladaptive psychological responses to cancer.
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