Indexed on: 25 Apr '03Published on: 25 Apr '03Published in: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Patient-orientated endpoints have attracted little attention in patients with malignant choroidal melanoma. This study was conducted to explore the long-term effects of malignant choroidal melanoma and radiotherapy on QOL by means of a differentiated and modular QOL approach, including global QOL, social support, and mental health, in comparison with sociodemographically matched healthy controls.A random sample of 100 outpatients treated by radiotherapy were asked by mail to take part in a psychodiagnostic study [instruments: Short-Form 36 Health-Survey (SF-36), Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, German Social Support Questionnaire]. The same instruments were applied to a healthy control group, which was matched to patients with regard to age, gender, and vocational situation.93 patients (average age 61.2 years) responded at an average of 5.5 years (+/-3.7) after diagnosis. Visual acuity in the affected eye decreased considerably from diagnosis (0.49+/-0.30) to participation in the study (0.09+/-0.21). Compared with healthy controls, patients reported on average statistically significantly lower global QOL (SF-36), whereas social support and mental distress did not differ. Frequencies of clinically relevant mental distress were significantly higher in patients than in controls (35.5% vs. 16.1%). Mental distress was associated with poorer visual acuity, but not with the extent of loss of visual acuity or number of follow-up treatments.Patients with choroidal melanoma suffer from low long-term global QOL, and every third patient suffers from relevant mental distress. Regular screening for mental distress should be implemented along with psychological counseling. Additional follow-up treatment does not seem to induce mental distress.