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The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) as a screening tool for depression and anxiety in non-advanced patients with solid or haematological malignancies on cure or follow-up

Ripamonti CI, Bandieri E, Pessi MA, Maruelli A, Buonaccorso L, Miccinesi G.

Support Care Cancer. 2013 Nov 26

Editors' comments: Dr Carla Ripamonti

Assessment of the presence and severity of physical and emotional symptoms should be part of the daily clinical activity of healthcare providers in all stages of the oncological disease in order to ensure early identification of suffering due to cancer and its treatments, so that those concerns can be addressed at the earliest opportunity and when necessary referred to specialists. The screening should be conducted by general practitioners, oncologists, palliativists and nurses by means of structured simple questionnaires rather than only by intuitive diagnosis. The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) is a simple, brief, easy to administer, non-time consuming tool , validated for population affected by cancer in different languages and cultures. A cross-sectional study was carried out on 194 non advanced patients with solid (108) or hematologic malignancies on cure or follow up, no metastases, KPS ≥ 70, life expectancy > 6 months. Patients were assessed by means of ESAS and by Hospital Anxiety Depression Score (HADS) with the main aim to assess the performance of ESAS items on anxiety and depression when detecting HADS ‘cases’. Depression and anxiety ESAS items correlated strongly (0.707, Spearman) . Anxiety or depression ESAS items score > 3 can be applied as a useful, easy and not time consuming screening for assessing emotional symptoms in patients with haematological malignancies.