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Top Factors That Affect The Quality Of Life In Cancer Patients

Factors in physical, psychological, social, and spiritual domains that could have an impact on the quality of life, were all explored in the study.

Top Factors That Affect The Quality Of Life In Cancer Patients

Financial concerns affect mental health of older cancer patients

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Study highlights factors impacting quality of life of cancer patients
  2. Pain and disturbed sleep affect physical health of cancer patients
  3. Financial concerns worsening mental health was unexpected: researchers

Some of the top researchers have come together to release a study which is aimed at providing insights on the factors that impact the quality of life in adults suffering from cancer. The study focuses on the importance of addressing symptoms, managing the time between leisure activities and physical activities, financial concerns and much more. The study aims at understanding those crucial factors which are helpful in improving or maintaining a good quality of life after the treatment. This will help in identifying cancer survivors who stand most vulnerable to risks of poor health.

The group of researchers participating in the study includes Maria Pisu, PhD, Associate Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine, Gabrielle Rocque, MD, Assistant Professor in Hematology and Oncology, and their colleagues at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. All of them conducted the survey on 1457 adults who are above the age of 65.

Most of the participants in the study were people who were not actively receiving cancer treatment during the time of the survey. The study was conducted when these participants had spent 1 year or more after their diagnosis.

Factors in physical, psychological, social, and spiritual domains that could have an impact on the quality of life, were all explored in the study.

It was found that the physical and mental components of quality of life were most affected by factors across different domains. The strongest contributors of the worsening the quality of life included symptoms of pain, fatigue, and disturbed sleep. Patients who had other medical conditions besides cancer were also likely to have worse quality of physical and mental health.

Fatigue and disturbed sleep were the most important factors that contributed to a worse mental quality of life. Facing hardships financially and the need for emotional support were other contributors of a worse mental life.

According to Dr Pisu, studies on quality of life focus on one cancer at a time, the period during which the treatment was conducted and the kind of medication that the patients took during treatment. She further added the type of cancer and the treatment undergone were not amongst the most important contributing factors to the quality of life.

She went to mention that financial concerns being included in the contributions of factors that affected mental health were rather unexpected.

The most important factor that would help these cancer survivors is the way they are being treated and been taken care of. The approach to care should take into consideration the patient's social life and their need for support, including their financial concerns.

The findings have been published in the journal Cancer. 
 

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