PURPOSE: This study investigated experiences and levels of distress and resilience of Danish cancer patients during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic .
METHODS: The mixed methods design included a subset of cancer patients who responded to a cross-sectional survey in May 2020 . Data were collected through telephone interviews . The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer (NCCN DT), and Connor-Davidson-Resilience Scale (CD-RISC2) were used to measure distress and resilience . Data were analysed by thematic analysis and descriptive statistics .
RESULTS: Forty patients with lung, breast, colorectal and skin (melanoma) cancer were included; 65% were women . Mean age was 62.2 years (standard deviation [SD], 13.2). Most patients had curable disease (65 %); 50% were in treatment and 50% in post-treatment follow up . The interviews revealed four themes : 1) the cost of living with cancer during COVID-19 , 2) changes in cancer care delivery , 3) particularly vulnerable, and 4) importance of family support . Mean NCCN DT score was 2.3 (SD , 2.6) while the mean CD-RISC2 score was 7.25 (SD , 1.1).
CONCLUSION: Despite drastic changes in daily life imposed by COVID-19 restrictions, Danish cancer patients had remarkably low levels of distress and high levels of resilience . Patients in active treatment, with comorbidities or elderly felt vulnerable . Family support was invaluable in critical times.