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Psychooncology. 2004 Nov;13(11):792-9.

Screening for distress in cancer patients: the NCCN rapid-screening measure.

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Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.

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  • Psychooncology. 2004 Nov;13(11):831.


The present investigation evaluated the NCCN distress management screening measure (DMSM) in a sample of 68 mixed site cancer patients. The DMSM was administered with the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Convergent validity was established by the moderate positive correlation between the DMSM and the BSI and BSI-18 global severity indices (r=0.59, p<0.001 and r=0.61, p<0.001, respectively). Divergent validity was demonstrated by the lower correlations between the DMSM and the BSI subscales suggestive of psychopathology (e.g. paranoid ideation, obsessive-compulsive). Receiver operative characteristic (ROC) analyses demonstrated that the DMSM has moderate ability to detect distress identified by the BSI and the BSI-18 (area under curve=0.74, p<0.001 and 0.80, respectively, p<0.01, respectively). While the ROC curves suggested that the DMSM lacks a single cutoff that maximizes sensitivity and specificity, the use of multiple cutoffs renders the DMSM an effective and very rapid screen for distress among cancer patients.

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