Knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to COVID-19 outbreak among Romanian adults with cancer: a cross-sectional national survey
Gheorghe AS, Negru ȘM, Nițipir C, Mazilu L, Marinca M, Gafton B, Ciuleanu TE, Schenker M, Dragomir RD, Gheorghe AD, Stovicek PO, Bandi-Vasilica M, Boț AC, Mihăilă RI, Zob DL, Kajanto AL, Stănculeanu DL
ESMO Open. 2020;6(1):100027 (IF = 5.329)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak forced cancer care providers to face different challenges in terms of prevention and treatment management due to specific precautions implemented for oncological patients. We aimed to describe the level of knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) among cancer patients, with the purpose to provide an image of the impact of COVID-19 and evaluate the effectiveness of pandemic response measures.
Patients and methods
We developed a cross-sectional multicentric study that targeted adults with active cancer during the COVID-19 outbreak, aiming to describe KAP related to COVID-19 among Romanian oncological patients. A questionnaire investigating 64 items on KAP related to the novel coronavirus was designed and applied in seven Romanian hospitals. The group of participants consisted of 1585 oncological patients who completed the questionnaire during the outbreak (April-May 2020).
Only 172 patients (10.8%) had very good knowledge about severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection symptoms, treatment options and incubation period. Only 44.3% of patients identified diarrhoea as a sign of COVID-19. About one-third of patients (32.6%) declared that they are ‘very worried’ about getting infected with the novel coronavirus. More than two-thirds of participants (68%) considered that having cancer represents an additional risk for infection with SARS-CoV-2, but 27.8% would rather not vaccinate against SARS-CoV-2 should a vaccine be available. A small percentage (8.8%) believed that the risk of infection justifies delaying/stopping oncological treatment until after the pandemic. Around half of the participants (55.5%) declared being compliant with all the protective measures against coronavirus infection listed in the questionnaire.
Romanian oncological patients have a less than expected knowledge about SARS-CoV-2, appropriate prevention behaviours, with limited trust in their efficacy, optimistic attitudes towards COVID-19 and low level of trust in information sources. Good COVID-19 knowledge was associated with appropriate practices towards COVID-19 and optimistic attitudes.