Family Model Analysis Provides Insights Into of Fear of Cancer Recurrence in Multiple Myeloma Survivors

Contemporary Concepts | <b>Contemporary Concepts in Hematologic Oncology</b>

It is important to tap into interventions that can mitigate a fear of cancer recurrence in the partners of multiple myeloma survivors in addition to improving family hardiness and social support in order to aid in patients' psychological adjustment and wellbeing.

Fear of cancer recurrence among survivors of multiple myeloma and their partners should be met with interventions to improve family hardiness and social support to better allow for psychological adjustment and wellbeing for patients, according to a study published in Psychosocial Oncology.

Of the study participants, 56.4% reported high levels of fear of cancer recurrence, a rate that was similar to the proportion of fear reported by partners (63%). Partners' fear of recurrence was positively associated with fear of recurrence in survivors and family hardiness and social support were statistically significant negative predictors.

“Most multiple myeloma survivors completing conventional treatments report fear of recurrence. Several demographic and medical factors are helpful in predicting [fear of cancer recurrence]. To mitigate [fear of cancer recurrence], partner factors, family hardiness, and social support should be addressed during rehabilitation and follow‐up care,” the study’s investigators wrote.

A total of 127 patients were included in the study recruited to complete a cross-sectional survey from a regional tertiary cancer center in China. Patient ages ranged from 28 to 80 years old with a mean of 58.09 years. The majority of patients were male (61.4%), and 25.2% had graduated college or had a higher level of education. Additionally, 41.8% of patients lived in a village and worked in agriculture (40.2%), 87.2% were retired or on sick leave, and 93.7% declared no religion. The age of patient’s partners ranged from 27 to 80 years, with a mean age of 57.71 years. Additionally, 12.6% had graduated from college or had a higher education. In total, 43.3% of patients had a monthly household income per person under 450 USD.

Investigators reported that the average family hardiness index score was 57.65. When assessing family hardiness index by 3 subscales, investigators reported an average commitment score of 27.19, 16.10 in the control subscale, and 14.37 in the challenge subscale. The average social support rating scale score was 40.68, with 2 patients classified as low, 25 classified as moderate, 58 classified as good, and 43 classified as high.

Investigators conducted a multivariate linear regression analysis to identify differences in fear of cancer recurrence by different factors such as demographic, clinical, and family factors. Characteristics such as age, occupation, time since diagnosis, comorbidity, monthly household income per person, self-reported need for psychological consultation, partner’s fear of recurrence, and family hardiness index and social support rating scale score were included in the final model.

Positive predictors of fear of cancer recurrence in patients included age, comorbidity, lower income, self-reported need for psychological consultation, and partner’s fear of cancer recurrence. A higher family hardiness index and social supporting rating scale were a negative predictors against fear of cancer. The variables accounted for 58% of variance (P <.01) and the analysis was found to be statistically significant (P<.01).


Hu X, Wang W, Wang Y, Liu K. Fear of cancer recurrence in patients with multiple myeloma: Prevalence and predictors based on a family model analysis. Psychooncology. 2021;30(2):176-184. doi:10.1002/pon.5546