Psychological and behavioral symptoms in patients with melanoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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OBJECTIVE: Improved survival rates have made it increasingly important for clinicians to focus on cancer survivorship issues affecting the quality of life of melanoma patients. To provide a comprehensive overview of the disease and treatment-related issues affecting such patients, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature to estimate the prevalence of symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and cognitive problems among melanoma patients, both uveal and cutaneous, before, during and after treatment.

METHODS: The review was preregistered with PROSPERO (#CRD42020189847) and reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. A comprehensive search of the literature published up until June 2022 was undertaken using PubMed, PsycInfo, the Cochrane Library, and CINAHL. Two independent reviewers screened 1418 records and quality-rated included studies. The reported prevalence rates of symptoms were pooled using a random-effects model.

RESULTS: Sixty-six studies including a total of 12,400 melanoma patients published between 1992 and 2022 were included. Pooled prevalence rates ranged from 6% to 16% for depression and 7%-30% for anxiety across diagnoses (uveal and cutaneous melanoma) and assessment time points. One third of the patients (35%) reported clinically significant fatigue, 20%-44% had cognitive complaints, while prevalence of sleep disturbance was not reported. Quality assessment indicated that 80% of the studies were of good quality.

CONCLUSION: A large body of research shows that depression and anxiety symptoms are prevalent in melanoma patients before, during and after treatment. However, research examining other symptoms known to affect quality of life, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive problems, is still needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1222
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • cancer
  • cancer survivorship
  • late effects
  • melanoma
  • meta-analysis
  • oncology
  • prevalence
  • psycho-oncology
  • side effects


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