Article Abstract

Is nutritional status associated with the level of anxiety, depression and pain in patients with lung cancer?

Authors: Mariusz Chabowski, Jacek Polański, Beata Jankowska-Polańska, Dariusz Janczak, Joanna Rosińczuk


Background: Nutritional deficiencies are common in lung cancer patients, especially in those with advanced and metastatic cancers. The pathogenesis of the development of nutritional disorders in cancer patients has not been fully explained. The study was performed in order to research associations between nutritional status and mental condition and pain. The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between nutritional status and the level of anxiety, depression and perceived pain in patients with lung cancer.
Methods: A total of 257 patients with lung cancer were enrolled. The Mini-Nutritional Assessment (MNA) questionnaire was used to assess their nutritional status; the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used to assess their levels of anxiety and depression; the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) was used to assess levels of perceived pain.
Results: The MNA showed that 23% of the study group was malnourished, 33% at risk of malnutrition and 44% displayed a normal nutritional status. The HADS questionnaire showed that 65% of the study group had depressive symptoms and 65% had anxiety. The mean score of the VAS was 4.35. A significant negative correlation between nutritional status and pain was observed (r=−0.65; P<0.001) as well as between nutritional status and anxiety and depression (r=−0.68; P<0.001 and r=−0.60; P<0.001, respectively).
Conclusions: The prevalence of nutritional disorders and the intensity of somatic symptoms and psychological distress are high among lung cancer patients. The significant levels of depression, anxiety and pain in patients at risk of malnutrition which were highlighted in comparison to patients with a normal nutritional status indicate the need for early supportive psychotherapy or pharmacological interventions.