Breaking News
March 24, 2018 - Morning Break: Skip the Finger Exam? Self C-Section; Toxic Toenail Fungus
March 24, 2018 - 3-D simulations reveal synergistic mechanisms of the human heart
March 24, 2018 - Newly designed three-part molecule shows promise to treat breast cancers
March 24, 2018 - Pubertal hormones not responsible for changes in social behavior during adolescence
March 24, 2018 - Waning Vaccine Protection May Be Driving Rise in U.S. Mumps Cases
March 24, 2018 - Folic Acid in Utero Tied to Food Allergy Risk
March 24, 2018 - Trial shows safety of drugs for irregular heartbeat patients undergoing treatment
March 24, 2018 - Penn State psychologists shed light on false memories in older adults
March 24, 2018 - Patients who self-discharge should be viewed more positively, say researchers
March 24, 2018 - Wearable brain scanner enables brain imaging whilst moving
March 24, 2018 - Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill, Averts Shutdown
March 24, 2018 - Two drugs prevent heart problems in breast cancer patients
March 24, 2018 - Research provides better understanding of how some cancer cells resist treatment
March 24, 2018 - Certain nutrients found in food may help reduce symptoms of psychotic illness
March 24, 2018 - AbbVie Announces Positive Topline Results from Second Phase 3 Study Evaluating Investigational Elagolix in Women with Uterine Fibroids
March 24, 2018 - AHRQ Is in Trouble | Medpage Today
March 24, 2018 - Could a pap test spot more than just cervical cancer?
March 24, 2018 - Men have greater hospital readmission risk following firearm injury, study shows
March 24, 2018 - Pediatric psychologist shares 11 warning signs of childhood depression
March 24, 2018 - OncoBreak: ‘I Was Normal Once’; Ending Cervical Cancer; Mammo Controversy
March 24, 2018 - Gum Disease by the Numbers
March 24, 2018 - Studies show tool can identify individual needs, supports to help youths with autism, intellectual disabilities
March 24, 2018 - Study reveals cause of extreme nausea in pregnancy
March 24, 2018 - New findings highlight need to reconsider cervical cancer screening guidelines
March 24, 2018 - Smartwatch App Might Help Detect A-Fib
March 24, 2018 - TAVR Reasonable for Low-Flow, Low-Gradient Aortic Stenosis
March 24, 2018 - Kids with severe brain injuries may develop ADHD: study
March 24, 2018 - Researchers explore ways to help older adults taper off and stop using sedatives
March 24, 2018 - Back pain being mismanaged globally
March 24, 2018 - Fingerprint test accurately and noninvasively detects heroin, cocaine users
March 24, 2018 - Leading experts to promote cardiovascular health at EuroPrevent 2018
March 24, 2018 - A Role for Rituximab in Lupus?
March 24, 2018 - New osteoarthritis genes discovered
March 24, 2018 - Maternal intake of DHA supplement linked to higher fat-free body mass in children
March 24, 2018 - Royal College of Pathologists‘ bulletin provides summary of Tissue Handling Workshop
March 24, 2018 - Maternal alcohol use early in pregnancy may be risk factor for infant abdominal malformation
March 24, 2018 - Savara Initiates Phase 2a Clinical Study of Molgradex for the Treatment of NTM Lung Infection
March 24, 2018 - Accelerated WBI Should be the Norm for Most Breast Cancers
March 24, 2018 - Experts seek to standardize treatments for childhood rheumatic diseases
March 24, 2018 - Foil-based measuring chip rapidly detects Legionella
March 24, 2018 - Bariatric surgery linked to positive outcomes in very obese adolescents with type 2 diabetes
March 24, 2018 - Researchers identify chemical responsible for carcinogen formation in recycled wastewater
March 24, 2018 - Obesity and severe obesity continue to rise among U.S. adults
March 24, 2018 - Missed hospital appointments increase after spring clock change in the UK
March 24, 2018 - Researchers explore ways to manage and prevent falls in older adults with dementia
March 24, 2018 - Are there risks from secondhand marijuana smoke? Early science says yes.
March 24, 2018 - NUST MISIS researchers produce elastic metal rods for scoliosis treatment
March 24, 2018 - New University of Bath project seeks to make injections safer
March 24, 2018 - Higher-dose RT does not improve survival but reduces recurrence risk for prostate cancer patients
March 24, 2018 - Researchers examine link between knee pain and depression in older adults
March 24, 2018 - FDA Alert: BD Vacutainer Blood Collection Tubes by Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD): Class I Recall
March 24, 2018 - Daytime Sleepiness Linked to Amyloid Accumulation Without Dementia
March 24, 2018 - Energy storehouses in the brain may be source of Alzheimer’s, targets of new therapy
March 24, 2018 - Praising people with autism shows promise for producing more exercise
March 24, 2018 - Using harmless red or infrared light to diagnose breast cancer
March 24, 2018 - Clash over abortion hobbles a health bill. Again. Here’s how.
March 23, 2018 - Virtual nature environment could be new way to recover from stress
March 23, 2018 - New study identifies key cellular mechanisms behind vascular aging in mice
March 23, 2018 - Nightmares Common Among U.S. Troops, But Seldom Reported
March 23, 2018 - Another Record Low for Tuberculosis in U.S.
March 23, 2018 - Changes in the eye connected to a decline in memory
March 23, 2018 - Radiologist creates dramatic teaching tool using power of VR
March 23, 2018 - Grilled meat could be raising the risk of hypertension finds study
March 23, 2018 - Mutations found in bassoon gene may help explain cause of rare brain disorder
March 23, 2018 - Childhood Brain Injuries May be Linked to ADHD Years Later
March 23, 2018 - Why treating addiction with medication should be carefully considered
March 23, 2018 - Researchers make key discovery about cellular pathway linked to myriad of diseases
March 23, 2018 - Researchers uncover cause of rare childhood neurodegenerative disease
March 23, 2018 - Measles infection in early childhood could contribute to later COPD
March 23, 2018 - Opioid painkiller is top prescription in 11 states
March 23, 2018 - Sienna Biopharmaceuticals Announces First Patient Dosed In Proof-of-Concept Trial of Topical By Design™ JAK Inhibitor SNA-125 for Atopic Dermatitis
March 23, 2018 - In Teen Girls, Neural Patterns May Drive Emotional Resilience
March 23, 2018 - Gene-based test for urine detects, monitors bladder cancer
March 23, 2018 - BD to introduce new digital solution for IV chemotherapy administration process at EAHP 2018
March 23, 2018 - New computational method helps to identify tumor cell mutations with greater accuracy
March 23, 2018 - Researchers identify potential obesity treatment in freezing hunger-signaling nerve
March 23, 2018 - Wales participates in the 100,000 Genomes Project
March 23, 2018 - 24-Hr Paging Cuts ED Visits for Kids with Endocrine Issues
March 23, 2018 - The brain learns completely differently than we’ve assumed since the 20th century
March 23, 2018 - Less nutritious diet mainly contributes to Type 2 diabetes among U.S.-based South Asians
Finances Weigh Heavily on Older Cancer Patients

Finances Weigh Heavily on Older Cancer Patients

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Action Points

  • Note that this survey study of older patients with cancer found that perceived financial hardships significantly impact quality of life.
  • This is despite Medicare covering most costs of acute cancer care, implying that it may be the ongoing care of cancer patients that impose more financial burden.

Despite access to Medicare in most cases, older patients with cancer remained deeply concerned about financial burdens from their medical care, a survey of almost 1,500 patients showed.

Financial hardship had a consistent and significantly negative impact on older patients’ health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Symptoms, disability, lack of emotional support, and other factors also emerged as factors affecting HRQOL, but many were consistent with findings from previous studies.

The emergence of financial issues as an influence on QOL came as a surprise, Maria Pisu, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and co-authors reported online in Cancer.

“What stood out to me was the finding that financial hardships affected the patients mental quality of life,” Pisu told MedPage Today. “We don’t usually think about that as being an issue for older adults. Previous studies have shown that financial issues are more relevant for the younger population of patients with cancer, so I was not expecting to see that.”

The survey included questions about financial “events,” such as having to borrow from savings to pay for care, having to take out loans, and having to declare bankruptcy. The more events a patient reported, the more closely financial hardship correlated with mental QOL, she said.

About a third of the patients were receiving active treatment at time of the survey, meaning that a majority of the study population had reached the survivorship stage of their care.

“We think this study emphasizes the need for ongoing assessment of symptoms, lack of social support, and other factors that potentially have long-term effects on older cancer patient’s quality of life,” said Pisu. “We encourage a holistic approach to the care of patients, which would include having discussions about the financial burdens or barriers associated with cancer.”

As the number of cancer survivors in the United States reached 15 million in 2016, the number of older people in that population continued to increase. Last year more 62% of cancer survivors were ≥65.

Older adults highly value traits associated with HRQOL, such as functional and cognitive well being and the ability to engage in leisure-time activities, Pisu and co-authors noted in the introduction to the study and its findings. Several studies have documented that older adults with cancer have poorer physical hr-QOL but similar mental HRQOL as compared with people of the same age without cancer.

Better understanding of the HRQOL factors that older cancer patients value most can help guide the development of useful interventions for a vulnerable patient population that continues to grow in number. Toward that end, Pisu and colleagues conducted a telephone survey of 1,457 older adults (≥65) to assess the impact of four life domains (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual) on HRQOL.

Eligible patients had cancer diagnoses after Jan. 1, 2008, and the surveys were administered by telephone during November 2013 to June 2015. Investigators assessed HRQOL by means of the Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) of the 12-item Short Form Survey. Possible scores ranged from 0 to 100, with higher scores representing better HRQOL. A score of 50 indicated HRQOL comparable to that of the general adult population in the U.S.

Investigators also used survey instruments to evaluate patients’ support needs, leisure time activities and exercise, symptoms, and financial hardships and challenges to accessing care.

The study population had a mean age of 74.2, women accounted for 60% of the study participants, and 62.9% of the survey respondents had a spouse or partner. The two most common types of cancer represented in the population were breast (23.7%), and prostate (13.0%). The participants had a mean PCS score of 42.3 and mean MCS score of 53.1.

The factors most closely associated with PCS score were symptom severity (adjusted R2=0.34) and physical support needs (aR2=0.16). Factors strongly associated with MCS score were symptom severity (aR2=0.32) and number of financial hardships (aR2=0.15). The relative importance of individual factors remained consistent across several different approaches to statistical modeling, the authors reported.

Fatigue, pain, disturbed sleep, and drowsiness were the symptoms most closely associated with PCS scores (aR2≥0.16). Fatigue, memory problems, disturbed sleep, and lack of appetite had the strongest associations with MCS score (aR2≥0.16).

“The results of the current study support the importance of quality comorbidity and supportive care, and of leisure-time physical activity interventions to address persistent symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and disturbed sleep,” the authors concluded. “Moreover, the results presented herein emphasize the need to address financial challenges that older cancer patients and survivors face.

“Overall, the results of the current study highlight the importance of a long-term comprehensive approach to managing the well-being of older adults with cancer.”

The study was funded by Genentech, which participated in interpreting study results and manuscript preparation. Some co-authors were Genentech employees. Pisu declared no other financial interests.

  • Reviewed by
    F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE Assistant Professor, Section of Nephrology, Yale School of Medicine and Dorothy Caputo, MA, BSN, RN, Nurse Planner


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles