Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of psychological intervention in the care of cancer patients and to determine whether routine use of individual psychological therapies is indicated.
Patients and methods: Patients with newly diagnosed gynecologic malignancies from August 1999 to November 2000 were recruited and randomly assigned to either a control group receiving routine medical care or to an intervention group receiving individual psychotherapy. A set of fixed-choice, self-report questionnaires assessing the patients' psychological status, quality of life, and their perceptions related to the medical consultations was completed at recruitment and then every 3 months for 18 months. Data analysis was performed according to the intention-to-treat principle by fitting the data into a linear mixed-effects model. Multivariable analyses were performed to examine the effects of confounding factors.
Results: One hundred fifty-five patients participated in the trial. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups at baseline. There was a trend toward better quality of life and functional status and also improvement of the symptoms over time for both groups. No differences were found between the groups in the scores measured by any of the instruments at baseline and at any time points after the cancer diagnosis. Psychological intervention had no significant effects on the psychosocial parameters.
Conclusion: Routine use of psychological therapies as given in our format has no significant effect on the patients' quality of life and psychological status.