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Look for These Symptoms in Older People with Cancer

Cancer; ePub 2017 Dec 18; Pisu, Azuero, et al

In older people with cancer, it is important to be attuned to certain symptoms and comorbidities that impact quality of life, researchers concluded after conducting a study involving nearly 1,500 individuals. Participants who were ≥65 years of age and had cancer were surveyed by phone (a training set of 920 and a validation cohort of 537). They were a median of 19 months from diagnosis, and ~3 in every 10 were being treated at the time. Investigators measured outcomes via the Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS). Among the results:

  • The most relevant factors with PCS were symptom severity, comorbidity scores, leisure-time physical activity, and having physical support needs.
  • For MCS they were having emotional support needs, symptom severity score, and number of financial hardship events.
  • Symptoms strongly linked with PCS were fatigue, pain, disturbed sleep, and drowsiness.
  • Symptoms strongly linked with MCS were fatigue, recall, disturbed sleep, and lack of appetite.


Pisu M, Azuero A, Halilova K, et al. Most impactful factors on the health-related quality of life of a geriatric population with cancer. [Published online ahead of print December 18, 2017]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.31048.