One-minute time interval estimation as a novel ultrashort tool for distress screening
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Our study explores the potential relationship between time estimation and level of distress in cancer patients prior to starting chemotherapy.
Time estimation was assessed in 262 chemonaïve patients with solid tumors by evaluating each subject’s prospective estimation of how fast 1 min passed compared to the actual time. The median value (40 s) of time estimation was used to stratify the patients into two categories of fast and slow time estimation. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network Distress Thermometer was used at the beginning of treatment to evaluate levels of distress. Patients scoring 4 or above (51.9%) were regarded as having high levels of distress.
The pattern of the time estimation distributions significantly changed according to the level of distress. Patients with a fast time estimation had significantly higher levels of distress (4.55 ± 3.1) than patients with a slow time estimation (3.3 ± 2.9) (p = 0.001). ROC analysis revealed that at the optimal cutoff value of time estimation, patients with low and high distress levels can be discriminated with an AUC = 0.60 (95% CI: 0.53–0.67, p = 0.005) and with a sensitivity of 62.5% and specificity of 53.2%. Moreover, in a multivariate logistic regression model, fast time estimation was an independent predictor of high levels of distress.
Time estimation is a novel potent indicator of high levels of distress in cancer patients. This test is an easily performed, time-saving, and nonintrusive ultrashort screening tool that is even suitable for patients who are not willing to reveal their level of distress via direct questionnaires.
KeywordsTime estimation Distress Cancer Oncology Screening
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.”
For this type of study, formal consent is not required.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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