Distress and problem assessment among people living with cancer from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds

Gemma Skaczkowski, Natalie Pejoski, Jasmeen Kaur, Victoria White, Patricia M. Livingston, Carlene Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To examine whether routine assessment of distress, recommended as part of comprehensive cancer care, is utilised equally with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) vs non-CALD people living with cancer. Methods: A medical records review of all patients attending cancer-specific treatment units at a single tertiary hospital in Melbourne, Australia between 2015-2018. Recording of administration of the Distress Thermometer and Problem Checklist (DT and PC) was extracted for all patients. Details regarding how the DT and PC (used together) was administered were extracted for a random sub-sample of 294 CALD patients and 294 matched non-CALD patients. Results: A total of 6977 patients were identified (12.0% CALD). Just over half of the CALD (54.7%) and non-CALD (58.2%) patients had a recorded DT and PC (P > 0.05). For the sub-sample analysis, CALD patients were less likely to complete the form themselves (14.8% vs 75.9% non-CALD) and were more likely to have a family member complete the form (55.1% vs 15.1% non-CALD). CALD patients reported a similar level of distress to non-CALD patients. Distress scores for CALD and non-CALD patients were higher when family members completed the form. Provision of discussion, written information, referral offers and rates of referral acceptance were similar between CALD and non-CALD patients. Conclusions: Assessment of distress and associated problems, and the process following assessment, were similar for CALD and non-CALD patients. However, differences in how the form was completed highlight the need for further improvements to ensure that CALD patients are actively involved in their care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1662-1669
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Early online date3 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • comprehensive health care
  • culture
  • distress
  • linguistically diverse
  • psycho-oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Distress and problem assessment among people living with cancer from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this