Purpose Seven years after acceding to the European Union and endorsement of several cancer control agendas and documents (e.g., including EPAAC) the Romanian National Cancer Program, as there is not an integrated plan yet, does not include or cover psychosocial cancer care. In this situation we aim to analyse prevalence of diagnosis non-disclosure, cancer distress and quality of life in Romanian cancer patients prior and post EU accession. Methods APSCO - Assessment of Psycho-Social and Communication needs in Oncology - is the first extensive questionnaire based study in Romania on psychosocial aspects of cancer. APSCO has a repeated cross-sectional design using proportionate quota sampling in order to be representative for all main cancer centres. A mixed and various sample of 784 oncology patients was screened in 2013, and 420 in 2006. Instruments included: BDI, STAI-T, and FACT-G. Results Preliminary data show that prevalence of cancer diagnosis non-disclosure halved in Romania between 2006-2013 (16.9% vs. 8.2%), but highly elevated psychosocial distress, especially depression (47.5% vs. 42.2%) and anxiety (46.7% vs. 47.2%) symptoms are relatively unchanged. All aspects of quality of life (Ms = 63.37 vs. 70.63) - including physical, social, emotional and functional well-being - show clinically meaningful shifts but still under normative levels indicated by FACIT. Conclusions Our results about moderate to high cancer distress and unmet well-being needs among Romanian cancer patients, burdened by tendencies of non-disclosure, support current efforts to put psychosocial cancer care on Romania’s priority health agenda.
KEYWORDS: distress, well-being (physical, social, emotional and functional), cancer care, Romania