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Prevalence and associates of psychological distress in haematological cancer survivors



To explore outcomes of psychological distress, including anxiety, depression and stress, amongst adult haematological cancer survivors, with a specific focus on potential differences between rural and urban survivors.


One thousand four hundred fourteen urban and rural survivors were recruited from five Australian population-based cancer registries and completed a self-report pen-and-paper survey on their well-being, including the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale 21-item version.


A quarter of survivors were identified as reporting above normal levels of anxiety and depression, respectively, and almost one fifth (17 %) reported above normal levels of stress. There were no statistically significant differences in the percentage of rural and urban survivors reporting above normal levels of anxiety, depression, or stress. Survivors who had experienced financial burden due to their cancer or were of middle age had higher odds of reporting multiple domains of psychological distress, compared to their counterparts.


Haematological cancer survivors diagnosed during middle age or who experience increased financial burden as a result of their diagnosis may require additional support and care with regards to psychological distress.

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The authors are grateful for all the hard work and assistance of the registry staff, for multiple research personnel, including Ms Sandra Dowley and Miss Clara Davis for the data entry; Miss Ally Logatchova, Dr Emilie Cameron, Miss Hannah Small, Miss Lara Ryan, Mr Scott Stronach and Ms Natalie Dodds for the assistance with data cleaning and/or recruitment; and Ms Alessandra Bisquera for the statistical support. The authors would also like to acknowledge the time and effort provided by the survivors and support persons who took part in this research; the authors greatly appreciate their involvement, as without their assistance, this research would not be possible.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alix E. Hall.

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This grant no. 569290 was awarded through the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme and co-funded by beyondblue and the Australian Government through Cancer Australia. It also received funding support from a Strategic Research Partnership Grant (CSR 11–02) from Cancer Council NSW to the Newcastle Cancer Control Collaborative (New-3C) and infrastructure funding from the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute. Christine Paul is supported by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (APP1061335). Mariko Carey is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Fellowship.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Hall, A.E., Sanson-Fisher, R.W., Carey, M.L. et al. Prevalence and associates of psychological distress in haematological cancer survivors. Support Care Cancer 24, 4413–4422 (2016).

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  • Cancer
  • Oncology
  • Distress
  • Haematological cancer
  • Geographical location