Breaking News
January 17, 2018 - Bariatric surgery extends lifespan in obese patients, shows study
January 17, 2018 - Bristol-Myers Squibb Receives FDA Approval for Opdivo (nivolumab) as Adjuvant Therapy in Patients with Completely Resected Melanoma with Lymph Node Involvement or Metastatic Disease
January 17, 2018 - Ewww Moments in the ER: That’s Improbable!
January 17, 2018 - Booze may help or harm the heart, but income matters
January 17, 2018 - Top nutrients needed to boost mood and energy levels on Blue Monday
January 17, 2018 - Scientists develop unique technique to map elasticity of cell components
January 17, 2018 - Obesity surgery reduces the risk of death by half finds new study
January 17, 2018 - Raw Meat Not the Safest Choice for Your Dog or for You
January 17, 2018 - Men who lack HSD17B4 gene may be more susceptible to treatment-resistant prostate cancer
January 17, 2018 - High-Dose Aspirin Preferred for Kawasaki’s
January 17, 2018 - Study suggests risk management approach to combat EMS fatigue
January 17, 2018 - A new therapy against obesity
January 17, 2018 - Doctors warn against holding your nose and closing your mouth to contain a sneeze
January 17, 2018 - Measles outbreak alarms public health officials
January 17, 2018 - FDA Slaps Class Warning on Gadolinium Contrast Agents
January 17, 2018 - Distinct human mutations can alter the effect of medicine
January 17, 2018 - ASIT biotech’s new article presents clinical results of gp
January 17, 2018 - Alternative tobacco use by adolescents associated with greater odds of future cigarette smoking
January 17, 2018 - A High-Salt Diet Produces Dementia In Mice
January 17, 2018 - Scientists provide insights into crucial interaction for DNA repair
January 17, 2018 - Sanofi and Regeneron Announce Positive Topline Pivotal Results for PD-1 Antibody Cemiplimab in Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma
January 17, 2018 - Morning Break: Pfizer Kills AD/PD Pipeline; Trump Affirms His Mental Health; Humira Pricing Strategy
January 17, 2018 - Researchers see gene influencing performance of sleep-deprived people
January 17, 2018 - Fast food triggers the immune system making it hyperactive
January 17, 2018 - Scientists find increased risk of HIV outbreaks in Ukraine due to war-related migration
January 17, 2018 - New universal flu vaccine moves to clinical trial phase and could be a reality soon
January 17, 2018 - Cocaine de-addiction breakthrough shows promise
January 17, 2018 - FDA Accepts New Drug Application for Seysara (sarecycline) for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Acne
January 17, 2018 - Robotic Telestenting; BP Cuff Smartwatch; Medicare Bundled Care
January 17, 2018 - New cellular approach found to control progression of chronic kidney disease
January 17, 2018 - Lamprey genes provide clues to repair spinal cord damage, finds study
January 17, 2018 - Tissue-based soft robot could lead to advances in bio-inspired robotics
January 17, 2018 - Mostly the healthy and wealthy Americans use mobile phone apps to track sleep habits
January 17, 2018 - FDA Alert: Varubi (rolapitant) Injectable Emulsion: Health Care Provider Letter
January 16, 2018 - NeuroBreak: Rough Days for Neuroscience Research; Another Migraine Drug Advances
January 16, 2018 - The ‘greatest pandemic in history’ was 100 years ago – but many of us still get the basic facts wrong
January 16, 2018 - Serena Williams Shares Childbirth Ordeal
January 16, 2018 - The Artificial Brain as Doctor
January 16, 2018 - Type 2 diabetes has hepatic origins
January 16, 2018 - Expert discusses how to identify, support individuals with drug or alcohol addiction in workplace
January 16, 2018 - Starting menstruation early increases risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke in later life
January 16, 2018 - CapsoVision receives CE Mark approval for use of CapsoCam Plus System in pediatric patients
January 16, 2018 - Researchers develop new dynamic statistical model to follow gene expressions over time
January 16, 2018 - Alzheimer’s ‘looks like me, it looks like you’
January 16, 2018 - By the Numbers: Physicians’ Economic Impact
January 16, 2018 - Sound Health | NIH News in Health
January 16, 2018 - Modifying baby formula doesn’t prevent type 1 diabetes in children
January 16, 2018 - Energy drinks dangerous for kids
January 16, 2018 - When you need a breast screening, should you get a 3-D mammogram?
January 16, 2018 - Johns Hopkins gets approval to perform HIV positive to HIV positive living donor kidney transplants
January 16, 2018 - The Salk Institute and Indivumed collaborate for cutting-edge cancer research
January 16, 2018 - Study reveals negative long-term effects of heavy cannabis use on brain function and behavior
January 16, 2018 - Many gym-goers injure themselves by pushing harder to be better than friends
January 16, 2018 - Risankizumab Meets All Primary Endpoints Reporting Positive Results in Fourth Pivotal Phase 3 Psoriasis Study
January 16, 2018 - Federal Junk Food Tax Feasible, Study Says
January 16, 2018 - Do girls have stronger teeth than boys?
January 16, 2018 - New high-sensitivity blood tests could aid faster diagnosis and treatment for heart attack
January 16, 2018 - How fatal mitochondrial diseases may strike offspring of families with no history of the conditions
January 16, 2018 - TherapeuticsMD Announces FDA Acceptance of New Drug Application and Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) Date for TX-004HR
January 16, 2018 - Morning Break: Food Pharmacies; Obamacare Sign-ups Dip; Top Pot Studies
January 16, 2018 - Blood pressure declines 14 to 18 years before death
January 16, 2018 - ViLim Ball technology helps reduce uncontrollable shaking hands
January 16, 2018 - Researchers use immune-mimicking biomaterial scaffolds to fast track T cell therapies
January 16, 2018 - In Wisconsin, hopes rise for production of a lifesaving radioactive isotope
January 16, 2018 - Researchers develop software to better predict risk of leakage around aortic stents
January 16, 2018 - Bile acids could directly burn away lipids in the fat depots
January 16, 2018 - Cycling does not negatively impact sexual and urinary health finds study
January 16, 2018 - Severe peer victimization in childhood may contribute to mental health issues in adolescence
January 16, 2018 - Exelixis Announces U.S. FDA Approval of Cabometyx (cabozantinib) Tablets for Previously Untreated Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma
January 16, 2018 - Just How Often Do Patients Turn Post-Surgical Opioids Into a Habit?
January 16, 2018 - Opioid addiction – Genetics Home Reference
January 16, 2018 - Incomplete revascularization in PCI linked to higher mortality
January 16, 2018 - Machine learning algorithm uses brain scans to predict language ability in deaf children
January 16, 2018 - Penn scientists identify new therapeutic target for treatment of melanoma
January 16, 2018 - The London Clinic exhibits innovative technology to treat Parkinson’s disease at Arab Health
January 16, 2018 - Early influenza testing is critical to prevent serious complications
January 16, 2018 - Study Gets to the Core of Back Pain in Runners
January 16, 2018 - Year in Review: Ophthalmology | Medpage Today
January 16, 2018 - Marijuana Use
January 16, 2018 - Researchers create novel compound targeting melanoma cells
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