A new study provides insights on the factors that affect health-related quality of life in older adults with cancer. The findings support the importance of addressing persistent symptoms, managing comorbidities, promoting leisure-time physical activity, and addressing financial challenges. | Cancer | Story via ScienceDaily
As the population of older adults with cancer continues to grow, the most important factors contributing to their health-related quality of life (HRQOL) remain unclear.
A total of 1457 older adults (aged ≥65 years) with cancer participated in a telephone survey. Outcomes were measured using the Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores of the 12-Item Short Form Survey from the Medical Outcomes Study. Statistical techniques used to identify factors in 4 domains (physical, psychological, social, and spiritual) most strongly associated with HRQOL included linear models, recursive partitioning, and random forests. Models were developed in a training data set (920 respondents) and performance was assessed in a validation data set (537 respondents).
Respondents were a median of 19 months from diagnosis, and 28.1% were receiving active treatment. The most relevant factors found to be associated with PCS were symptom severity, comorbidity scores, leisure-time physical activity, and having physical support needs. The most relevant factors for MCS were having emotional support needs, symptom severity score, and the number of financial hardship events. Results were consistent across modeling techniques. Symptoms found to be strongly associated with PCS included fatigue, pain, disturbed sleep, and drowsiness.
Symptoms found to be strongly associated with MCS included fatigue, problems remembering things, disturbed sleep, and lack of appetite.
The findings of the current study support the importance of addressing persistent symptoms, managing comorbidities, promoting leisure-time physical activity, and addressing financial challenges. A long-term comprehensive approach is needed to ensure the well-being of older adults with cancer.
Full reference: Maria Pisu et al. | Most impactful factors on the health-related quality of life of a geriatric population with cancer |Cancer | First publishd 18 December 2017
The average time for a patient in England to be diagnosed with cancer is 40 days, a new study suggests | British Journal of General Practice | story via The Independent
Research published in the British Journal of General Practice has found that in 2014 the median number of days from first relevant presentation to the date of diagnosis was 40 days. This ranged from 15 days to 86 days.
The findings identify avenues for quality improvement activity and provide a baseline for future audit of the impact of 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance on management and referral of suspected cancer.
Health officials have set a target for all cancer patients to be diagnosed within 28 days by 2020.
Full reference: Swann, R. et al. | Diagnosing cancer in primary care: results from the National Cancer Diagnosis Audit | British Journal of General Practice | 18 December 2017
Bowel Cancer UK has published Finding the Key to the Cures: a plan to end bowel cancer by 2050.
Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest cancer killer with 16,000 people dying from the disease, and the fourth most common cancer with over 41,200 people diagnosed each year. The key to reducing the numbers of people dying from this condition is early diagnosis. This report examines ways and methods of increasing earlier detection methods which could transform survival rates and ultimately benefit thousands of people in the future.
Full team ahead: understanding the UK non-surgical cancer treatments workforce. Cancer Research UK
This report from Cancer Research UK investigates the current and future needs, capacity, and skills of the non-surgical oncology workforce to provide optimal treatment to the UK population. This is the first time UK-wide data has been collected on the non-surgical oncology workforce as a whole and it identifies gaps in the data. Interviews with workforce groups were carried out to confirm the accuracy of data collection done by health services and professional bodies.
The report ‘Full team ahead’ outlines the findings and recommendations from this research.
Full team ahead
Additional link: Royal College of Radiologists press release
New specialists will speed up cancer diagnoses and improve access to treatment
The UK is facing increased demand for cancer treatments based on the growing number of cases of cancer diagnosed each year and the fact that people are living for longer with cancer. Around 357,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer in 2014. In the year 2022, it has been projected that there will be around 422,000 new cases.
The NHS is to employ more cancer specialists, to speed up cancer diagnoses and get more people into treatment more quickly. The specialists will be trained in areas where there are shortages. It is part of Health Education England’s new Cancer Workforce Plan.
Announcements of extra provision include:
- 200 clinical endoscopists – to investigate suspected cancers internally
- 300 reporting radiographers – to identify cancers using x-rays and ultrasound
- support for clinical nurse specialists – to lead services and provide quality care
The plan is part of a campaign to make sure patients are diagnosed quickly and get better access to innovative treatments that can improve survival rates.
Further detail at HEE: Health Education England unveils plan to transform the future NHS cancer workforce