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Social, psychological, physical factors affect HRQOL in elderly cancer patients

27 Dec 2017
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Persistent symptoms, comorbidities, and financial challenges appear to be important factors affecting health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in geriatric cancer patients, a recent study has shown.

Researchers measured the HRQOL of 1,457 elderly cancer patients (mean age 74.2±7.3 years; 51 percent female), who had mean Mental Component Summary (MCS) and Physical Component Survey (PCS) scores of 53.1±9.6 and 42.3±10.7 points, respectively.

In preliminary analyses, PCS scores were significantly associated with symptom severity and physical support needs, while MCS scores were tied to symptom severity and financial hardships.

However, when researchers used linear models, they found that physical support needs, physical activity score, comorbidity scores, and symptom severity were the most relevant factors for the PCS scores, indicating that social, psychological, and physical domains all affect PCS.

In comparison, emotional support needs, symptom severity scores, and the number of financial hardship events were found to be the most relevant variables for MCS scores. This also shows that MCS is affected by physical, social, and psychological domains.

In terms of symptoms, PCS scores were most strongly affected by drowsiness, disturbed sleep, pain, and fatigue. MCS scores, on the other hand, were associated with lack of appetite, disturbed sleep, problems remembering things, and fatigue.

“The results of the current study suggest that to improve the HRQOL of older cancer survivors, the approach to survivorship care should include the appropriate management of symptoms and comorbid conditions and the promotion of healthy lifestyles,” said researchers.

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