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Findings Support Comprehensive Approach for Seniors With Cancer

Last Updated: December 21, 2017.

Addressing persistent symptoms, managing comorbidities, promoting leisure-time physical activity, and addressing financial challenges are key in optimizing health-related quality of life in older adults with cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Cancer.

THURSDAY, Dec. 21, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Addressing persistent symptoms, managing comorbidities, promoting leisure-time physical activity, and addressing financial challenges are key in optimizing health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in older adults with cancer, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in Cancer.

Maria Pisu, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues surveyed 1,457 older adults (aged 65 years and older) with cancer. The authors examined factors in four domains (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual) most strongly associated with HRQOL. Models were developed in a training dataset comprising 920 respondents and validated in a set of 537 respondents.

The researchers found that symptom severity, comorbidity scores, leisure-time physical activity, and having physical support needs were the most relevant factors associated with Physical Component Summary (PCS) scores of the 12-item Short Form Survey. Having emotional support needs, symptom severity score, and the number of financial hardship events were the most relevant factors for Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores. Across modeling techniques, the results were consistent. Fatigue, pain, disturbed sleep, and drowsiness were strongly associated with PCS; fatigue, problems remembering things, disturbed sleep, and lack of appetite were strongly associated with MCS.

"The findings of the current study support the importance of addressing persistent symptoms, managing comorbidities, promoting leisure-time physical activity, and addressing financial challenges," the authors write. "A long-term comprehensive approach is needed to ensure the well-being of older adults with cancer."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Genentech, which partially funded the study.

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