BACKGROUND: Palliative nursing care provides the best possible quality of life (QoL) for patients who face life-threatening conditions, such as breast cancer, and their families. It seems that coping with breast cancer can affect couples' QoL. Hence, this study aimed to assess the potential role of ways of coping (WOC) in QoL among husbands of women with breast cancer.
METHOD: In this cross-sectional study, 150 men whose wives were affected by non-metastatic breast cancer and were at least 4 months post-diagnosis, were recruited. The Persian version of the WOC questionnaire (WOCQ) and the World Health Organization's QoL brief questionnaire (WHOQoL-BREF) were used to measure WOC and QoL. ThePearson correlation test was applied to assess bivariate correlation of the variables.
FINDINGS: A significant direct correlation was found between the total WHOQoL-BREF score and all subscales of WHOQ, except escape-avoidance coping (r=-0.017, P=0.830). Most dimensions of the WHOQoL-BREF and WOCQ subscales were correlated significantly and directly. Nevertheless, escape-avoidance coping had a significant indirect correlation with the physical dimension of WHOQoL-BREF (r=-0.220, P=0.007).
CONCLUSION: Findings indicated a need for coping-based interventions in palliative nursing to improve QoL in husbands of women with breast cancer.
Cela fait trois ans que Matthieu n'a pas vu sa famille, depuis qu'il a claqué la porte de la maison, le jour de ses 18 ans. Il n'a pas répondu aux appels de sa mère, a évité de donner des nouvelles. Il vit de petits boulots avec sa compagne Emma.
Sa tante, Grazia, lui apprend que sa mère est morte d'un cancer foudroyant. Il décide alors de rentrer pour l'enterrement. Mais cela se complique lorsqu'il découvre que sa mère, Bianca Fois, a tout prévu pour son inhumation en Sardaigne, dans le caveau familial : c'est lui, Matthieu, qui doit aller là-bas, avec son frère et sa soeur, des jumeaux de 11 ans, Gavi et Lena, avec lesquels il a été élevé mais qu'il ne connaît plus et dont il a des choses à se faire pardonner.
Ce livre raconte le deuil de trois adolescents qui devront apprendre à mieux se connaître pour traverser cette épreuve et celles du passé.
AIM: To identify the associated factors of hope during treatment in cancer patients.
BACKGROUND: Hope is very important to cancer patients at all stages of the disease process. Hope is seen as an important coping mechanism. Most research about hope in cancer patients considered the end of life or in palliative care. Several and different factors are associated with hope. It is not yet sufficiently clear which factors are associated with hope during the treatment.
DESIGN: A systematic literature review of quantitative empirical studies on hope in cancer patients during treatment.
DATA SOURCES: Search in MEDLINE (PubMed interface), CINAHL (EBSCO interface), Psychinfo and Cochrane (January 2009-December 2018).
REVIEW METHODS: Empirical quantitative studies were included regardless of the disease stage, written in English or Dutch, measuring hope from the perspective of cancer patients. Two authors independently screened all the studies and assessed their quality.
RESULTS: Thirty-three studies were included. Positive relationship has been established between hope and quality of life, social support, spiritual and existential well-being. Hope appears to be negatively associated with symptom burden, psychological distress and depression. There appears to be no relationship between hope and demographic and clinical variables. The relationship between anxiety and hope remains unclear.
CONCLUSIONS: Hope primarily seems to be a process that takes place in a person's inner being rather than being determined from outside.
IMPACT: Health professionals may want to focus on the meaning of hope for cancer patients in relation to the associated factors. A better understanding of the meaning of hope during treatment can be of great value in supporting cancer patients with regard to treatment decisions, psychosocial support, the experienced quality of life and symptom burden and any wishes they may have with regard to advanced care planning.
OBJECTIVE: To show how a simple Bayesian analysis method can be used to improve the evidence base in patient populations where recruitment and retention are challenging.
METHODS: A Bayesian conjugate analysis method was applied to binary data from the Thermal testing in Bone Pain (TiBoP) study: a prospective diagnostic accuracy/predictive study in patients with cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP). This study aimed to evaluate the clinical utility of a simple bedside tool to identify who was most likely to benefit from palliative radiotherapy (XRT) for CIBP.
RESULTS: Recruitment and retention of patients were challenging due to the frail population, with only 27 patients available for the primary analysis. The Bayesian method allowed us to make use of prior work done in this area and combine it with the TiBoP data to maximise the informativeness of the results. Positive and negative predictive values were estimated with greater precision, and interpretation of results was facilitated by use of direct probability statements. In particular, there was only 7% probability that the true positive predictive value was above 80%.
CONCLUSIONS: Several advantages of using Bayesian analysis are illustrated in this article. The Bayesian method allowed us to gain greater confidence in our interpretation of the results despite the small sample size by allowing us to incorporate data from a previous similar study. We suggest that this method is likely to be useful for the analysis of small diagnostic or predictive studies when prior information is available.
BACKGROUND: Spirituality is particularly important for patients suffering from life-threatening illness. Despite research showing the benefits of spiritual assessment and care for terminally ill patients, their spiritual needs are rarely addressed in clinical practice. This study examined the factor structure and reliability of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual (FACIT-Sp) in patients with advanced cancer. It also examined the clinical meaning and reference intervals of FACIT-Sp scores in cancer patients subgroups through a literature review.
METHODS: A forward-backward translation procedure was adopted to develop the Italian version of the FACIT-Sp, which was administered to 150 terminally ill cancer patients. Exploratory factor analysis was used for construct validity, while Cronbach's a was used to assess the reliability of the scale.
RESULTS: This study replicates previous findings indicating that the FACIT-Sp distinguish well between features of meaning, peace, and faith. In addition, the internal consistency of the FACIT-Sp was acceptable. The literature review also showed that terminal cancer patients have the lowest scores on the Faith and Meaning subscales, whereas cancer survivors have the highest scores on Faith.
CONCLUSIONS: The Italian version of the FACIT-Sp has good construct validity and acceptable reliability. Therefore, it can be used as a tool to assess spiritual well-being in Italian terminally ill cancer patients. This study provides reference intervals of FACIT-Sp scores in newly diagnosed cancer patients, cancer survivors, and terminally ill cancer patients and further highlights the clinical meaning of such detailed assessment.
Background and aims: The prevalence of malnutrition is over 70% in advanced cancer patients and impacts negatively on survival and quality of life. Artificial nutrition can be integrated into a home palliative care program. This observational study aims to describe the criteria for identifying the cancer patients that could benefit from home artificial nutrition (HAN) and to evaluate its impact on survival and performance status.
Methods: The selection criteria for patient's eligibility to HAN were: Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) =40, life expectancy =6 weeks, inadequate caloric intake ± malnutrition, suitable psycho-physical conditions and informed consent. The access route for nutritional therapy (home parenteral nutrition, HPN; home enteral nutrition, HEN) was chosen according to the ESPEN Guidelines. The parameters considered were: primary site of the tumor; oral food intake; nutritional status; stage of cachexia; fluid, energy and protein supplied by HAN; survival.
Results: From 1990 to 2019, 43,474 cancer patients were assisted at home in Bologna (Italy). HAN started in 969 patients (2.2% of total patients, 571 men and 398 women, mean age 65.7 ± 12.7 years): HPN in 629 patients (64.9%), with gastrointestinal obstruction as the main indication; HEN in 340 patients (35.1%), with dysphagia as the main indication. Considering the 890 deceased patients, the mean survival after the start of HAN was 18.3 weeks and 649 patients (72.9%) survived more than 6 weeks. The mean survival was higher in HEN (22.1 weeks) compared to HPN patients (16.1 weeks) (p < .001). After one month, KPS was unchanged in 649 (67.0%), increased in 232 (23.9%) and decreased in 88 patients (9.1%). The mean KPS increased in patients starting HAN in pre-cachexia and cachexia (p < .001). Cachexia and refractory cachexia at the entry were associated with a reduced survival [odds ratio: 1.5 and 2.3 respectively, p < .001 for both condition] respect to pre-cachexia.
Conclusions: The selection criteria allow the identification of the patient who can take advantage of HAN. HAN can be effective in avoiding death from malnutrition in 73% of patients, and in maintaining or improving the KPS at one month in 90% of cases. The benefits provided by HAN on survival and performance status depend on the cachexia degree at the entry.
Background: Advanced cancer patients often die in hospital after receiving needless, aggressive treatment. Although palliative care improves symptom management, barriers to accessing palliative care services affect its utilisation, and such disparities challenge the equitable provision of palliative care. This study aimed to identify which factors are associated with inequitable palliative care service utilisation among advanced cancer patients by applying the Andersen Behavioural Model of Health Services Use.
Material and methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using administrative healthcare data. A total of 13,656 patients residing in the Lazio region of Italy, who died of an advanced cancer-related cause—either in hospital or in a specialised palliative care facility—during the period of 2012–2016 were included in the study. Potential predictors of specialised palliative service utilisation were explored by grouping the following factors: predisposing factors (i.e., individuals’ characteristics), enabling factors (i.e., systemic/structural factors) and need factors (i.e., type/severity of illness).
Results: The logistic hierarchical regression showed that older patients (odds ratio [OR] = 1.45; <0.0001) of Caucasian ethnicity (OR = 4.17; 0.02), with a solid tumour (OR = 1.87; <0.0001) and with a longer survival time (OR = 2.09; <0.0001) were more likely to be enrolled in a palliative care service. Patients who lived farther from a specialised palliative care facility (OR = 0.13; <0.0001) and in an urban area (OR = 0.58; <0.0001) were less likely to be enrolled.
Conclusion: This study found that socio-demographic (age, ethnicity), clinical (type of tumour, survival time) and organisational (area of residence, distance from service) factors affect the utilisation of specialised palliative care services. The fact that service utilisation is not only a function of patients’ needs but also of other aspects demonstrates the presence of inequity in access to palliative care among advanced cancer patients.
INTRODUCTION: Equitable delivery of advance care planning and symptom management among patients is crucial to improving cancer care. Existing interventions to improve the uptake of these services have predominantly occurred in clinic settings and are limited in their effectiveness, particularly among low-income and minority populations.
METHODS: The "Lay health worker Educates Engages and Activates Patients to Share (LEAPS)" intervention was developed to improve advance care planning and symptom management among low-income and minority hourly-wage workers with cancer, in two community settings. The intervention provides a lay health worker to all patients newly diagnosed with cancer and aims to educate and activate patients to engage in advance care planning and symptom management with their oncology providers. In this randomized clinical trial, we will evaluate the effect on quality of life (primary outcome) using the validated Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - General Survey, at enrollment, 4- and 12- months post-enrollment. We will examine between-group differences on our secondary outcomes of patient activation, patient satisfaction with healthcare decision-making, and symptom burden (at enrollment, 4- and 12-months post-enrollment), and total healthcare use and healthcare costs (at 12-months post-enrollment).
DISCUSSION: Multilevel approaches are urgently needed to improve cancer care delivery among low-income and minority patients diagnosed with cancer in community settings. The current study describes the LEAPS intervention, the study design, and baseline characteristics of the community centers participating in the study.
PURPOSE: Online programs may help to engage patients in advance care planning in outpatient settings. We sought to implement an online advance care planning program, PREPARE (Prepare for Your Care; http://www.prepareforyourcare.org), at home and evaluate the changes in advance care planning engagement among patients attending outpatient clinics.
METHODS: We undertook a prospective before-and-after study in 15 primary care clinics and 2 outpatient cancer centers in Canada. Patients were aged 50 years or older (primary care) or 18 years or older (cancer care) and free of cognitive impairment. They used the PREPARE website over 6 weeks, with reminders sent at 2 or 4 weeks. We used the 55-item Advance Care Planning Engagement Survey, which measures behavior change processes (knowledge, contemplation, self-efficacy, readiness) on 5-point scales and actions relating to substitute decision makers, quality of life, flexibility for the decision maker, and asking doctors questions on an overall scale from 0 to 21; higher scores indicate greater engagement.
RESULTS: In total, 315 patients were screened and 172 enrolled, of whom 75% completed the study (mean age = 65.6 years, 51% female, 35% had cancer). The mean behavior change process score was 2.9 (SD 0.8) at baseline and 3.5 (SD 0.8) at follow-up (mean change = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.49-0.73); the mean action measure score was 4.0 (SD 4.9) at baseline and 5.2 (SD 5.4) at follow-up (mean change = 1.2; 95% CI, 0.54-1.77). The effect size was moderate (0.75) for the former and small (0.23) for the latter. Findings were similar in both primary care and cancer care populations.
CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the online PREPARE program in primary care and cancer care clinics increased advance care planning engagement among patients.
Cancer patients are at increased risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE), which further increases with advanced stages of malignancy, prolonged immobilization, or prior history of thrombosis. To reduce VTE-related mortality, many official guidelines encourage the use of thromboprophylaxis (TPX) in cancer patients in certain situations, e.g., during chemotherapy or in the perioperative period. TPX in the end-of-life care, however, remains controversial. Most recommendations on VTE prophylaxis in cancer patients are based on the outcomes of clinical trials that excluded patients under palliative or hospice care. This translates to the paucity of official guidelines on TPX dedicated to this group of patients. The problem should not be underestimated as VTE is known to be associated with symptoms adversely impacting the quality of life (QoL), i.e., limb or chest pain, dyspnea, hemoptysis. In end-of-life care, where the assurance of the best possible QoL should be the highest priority, VTE prophylaxis may eliminate the symptom burden related to thrombosis. However, large randomized studies determining the benefits and risks profiles of TPX in patients nearing the end of life are lacking. This review summarized available data on TPX in this population, analyzed potential tools for VTE risk prediction in the view of this group of patients, and summarized the most current recommendations on TPX pertaining to terminal care.
Children with cancer experience multiple symptoms at end of life (EOL) that impair their health-related quality of life. Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, this integrative literature review comprehensively summarized symptom experiences of children with cancer at EOL. The Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PubMed, and Academic Premier were searched between January 2007 to September 2019 for articles published in English using the MeSH terms: symptom burden or distress AND children with cancer or pediatric cancer or cancer children or oncology and pediatrics AND EOL care or palliative care or death or dying or terminally ill. The inclusion criteria were the following: (a) study designs [randomized controlled trials, nonexperimental, secondary analysis (if aims were distinct from primary studies) and qualitative]; (b) participants <18 years old (died of cancer, had no realistic chance of cure, or had advanced cancer); and (c) focused on symptom experiences/burden at EOL. Exclusion criteria were nonresearch articles, systematic reviews, case studies, reports, and studies that focused on cancer survivors and/or those receiving curative therapies. Twenty-seven articles met inclusion criteria. The most prevalent symptoms-pain, fatigue, dyspnea, and loss of appetitewere associated with impairments in health-related quality of life. Children with brain tumors experienced higher symptom burden compared to those with hematologic/solid malignancies. Children who received cancer-directed therapies experienced disproportionate symptoms and were more likely to die in the intensive care unit compared with those who did not receive cancer-directed therapies. Most common location of death was home. This integrative review indicated that children with cancer were polysymptomatic at EOL. Strategies facilitating effective symptom management at EOL are needed.
Background: Surviving family caregivers describe the end-of-life experience as "very distressing" and half of those surveyed indicate inadequate emotional support; however, little is known about the causes of distress on the last day of life.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of the last day of life from the perspective of the surviving caregiver.
Design: The study used a narrative inquiry approach.
Setting/Subject: Surviving caregivers of deceased adult cancer patients at a single institution were invited to participate.
Measurements: After reviewing, coding, and categorizing the narratives individually, they were collectively considered and thematically analyzed across all cases to provide a summative analysis.
Results: Six themes captured the overall experiences: (1) relationships and communication with health care providers impact overall experience, (2) being able to prepare for death was a source of comfort, (3) being a caregiver impacts quality of life and identity, (4) spiritual visitations as a welcome experience, (5) navigating the dying days and early grief period wrought with guilt and closure, and (6) loss of community contributes to distress and distracts from healing.
Conclusions: In this study, distress was most often linked to communication failures. Caregivers also experienced distress and guilt related to the loss of their caregiver role. Findings also support a need for increased preparation for caregivers. Finally, the study showed the frequency of visitations/spiritual experiences during grieving.
BACKGROUND: Patients with cancer may develop metastases to the orbit causing distressing symptoms. External beam radiation therapy (RT) is an effective palliative treatment for patients with orbital and ocular metastases. The aim of treatment is to preserve vision and to reduce pain. Delivery of 30 to 40 Gy in 2 Fr fractions is a practice in many oncology centres. The aim of this study is to evaluate the outcome of shortcourse palliative radiotherapy in the management of orbital and ocular metastases.
METHODS: A retrospective study to review all patients with orbital metastases treated in 2016 to 2018 were performed. The primary outcomes were a change in visual acuity and tumor response. Secondary outcomes included toxicities of radiotherapy, symptomatic response and survival.
RESULTS: Fifteen patients with 19 eyes were included. The most common presenting symptoms were decreased vision, periorbital swelling, and pain. The median follow-up period was 8 months. Visual acuity improved in 11 out of 13 (84.6%) of patients and remained stable in the remaining 2 patients. Partial and complete response (CR) of tumor was observed in 14 out of 15 (93.3%) of patients while one (6.6%) patient had stable disease. The overall response rate (ORR) was 100%. Two (13.3%) patients had grade 2 conjunctivitis. There were no grade 3-4 toxicities and no long-term toxicities observed. The median survival was 9.1 months from diagnosis of choroidal metastases.
CONCLUSIONS: Short course palliative RT is effective and well tolerated in patients with orbital and ocular metastases. The current review showed that it effectively preserves vision and improves orbital symptoms with minimal radiation-induced toxicity. Short course radiotherapy will help to minimize the traveling time to the hospital and relieve the burden of a long treatment course in this palliative patient population.
Background: Polypharmacy is an important issue in the care of older patients with cancer, as it increases the risk of unfavorable outcomes. We estimated the prevalence of polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, and drug–drug interactions (DDIs) in older patients with cancer in Korea and their associations with clinical outcomes.
Subjects, Materials, and Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective observational study of geriatric patients with cancer undergoing first-line palliative chemotherapy. Eligible patients were older adults (=70 years) with histologically diagnosed solid cancer who were candidates for first-line palliative chemotherapy. All patients enrolled in this study received a geriatric assessment (GA) at baseline. We reviewed the daily medications taken by patients at the time of GA before starting chemotherapy. PIMs were assessed according to the 2015 Beers criteria, and DDIs were assessed by a clinical pharmacist using Lexi-comp Drug Interactions. We evaluated the association between polypharmacy and clinical outcomes including treatment-related toxicity, and hospitalization using logistic regression and Cox regression analyses.
Results: In total, 301 patients (median age 75 years; range, 70–93) were enrolled; the most common cancer types were colorectal cancer (28.9%) and lung cancer (24.6%). Mean number of daily medications was 4.7 (±3.1; range, 0–14). The prevalence of polypharmacy (=5 medications) was 45.2% and that of excessive polypharmacy (=10 medications) was 8.6%. PIM use was detected in 137 (45.5%) patients. Clinically significant DDIs were detected in 92 (30.6%) patients. Polypharmacy was significantly associated with hospitalization or emergency room (ER) visits (odds ratio: 1.73 [1.18–2.55], p < .01). Neither polypharmacy nor PIM use showed association with treatment-related toxicity.
Conclusion: Polypharmacy, PIM use, and potential major DDIs were prevalent in Korean geriatric patients with cancer. Polypharmacy was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization or ER visits during the chemotherapy period.
Implications for Practice: This study, which included 301 older Korean patients with cancer, highlights the increased prevalence of polypharmacy in this population planning to receive palliative chemotherapy. The prevalence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy was 45.2% and 8.6%, respectively. The prescription of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) was detected in 45.5% and clinically significant drug–drug interaction in 30.6% of patients. Given the association of polypharmacy with increased hospitalization or emergency room visits, this study points to the need for increased awareness and intervention to minimize polypharmacy in the geriatric cancer population undergoing chemotherapy. Moreover, specific criteria for establishing PIMs should be adopted for the treatment of older adults with cancer.
BACKGROUND: Accurate awareness of the prognosis is an important factor in the treatment decision of patients with advanced cancer; however, prognostic disclosure is still subject to debate because it can reduce patient's satisfaction and increase depression.
AIM: The purpose of this study is to assess whether patients' prognostic awareness is associated with decreased quality of life (QoL) or increased depressive mood in patients with advanced cancer.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: In this cohort study, 386 patients with advanced cancer were recruited across 3 periods from December 2016 to August 2018. The outcome of this study was a change in QoL and depression according to the patients' prognostic awareness at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months.
RESULTS: This study found significant differences in changes of QoL based on patients' prognostic awareness. From baseline to 3 months, emotional functioning (P = .039), pain (P = .042), existential well-being (P = .025), and social support (P = .038) subscale scores improved significantly more in those with lack of prognostic awareness. Over 6 months, the group without prognostic awareness improved significantly in terms of physical functioning (P = .037), emotional functioning (P = .002), nausea/vomiting (P = .048), and constipation (P = .039) subscale scores and existential well-being scores (P = .025). No significant difference between the groups was found in terms of depression.
CONCLUSION: Accurate prognostic awareness may pose harm and may provide no additional benefits in terms of QoL and mood among patients with advanced cancer for a short period of time.
PURPOSE: To determine whether the type of delivery system is associated with intensity of care at the end of life for Medicare beneficiaries with cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We used SEER registry data linked with Medicare claims to evaluate intensity of end-of-life care for patients who died of one of ten common cancers diagnosed from 2009 through 2014. Patients were categorized as receiving the majority of their care in an integrated delivery system, designated cancer center, health system that was both integrated and a certified cancer center, or health system that was neither. We evaluated adherence to seven nationally endorsed end-of-life quality measures using generalized linear models across four delivery system types.
RESULTS: Among 100,549 beneficiaries who died of cancer during the study interval, we identified only modest differences in intensity of end-of-life care across delivery system structures. Health systems with no cancer center or integrated affiliation demonstrated higher proportions of patients with multiple hospitalizations in the last 30 days of life (11.3%), death in an acute care setting (25.9%), and lack of hospice use in the last year of life (31.6%; all P < .001). Patients enrolled in hospice had lower intensity care across multiple end-of-life quality measures.
CONCLUSION: Intensity of care at the end of life for patients with cancer was higher at delivery systems with no integration or cancer focus. Maximal supportive care delivered through hospice may be one avenue to reduce high-intensity care at the end of life and may impact quality of care for patients dying from cancer.
Introduction: The ability of oncologists to understand patients’ goals of care is recognized as a key component of quality care. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of patient–oncologist agreement regarding goals of care upon aggressive care at end of life (EOL) for patients with advanced cancer.
Methods: Patients with advanced cancer and their oncologists were interviewed at study enrollment and every 3 months thereafter until patient death or end of the study period (15 months). A 100-point visual analogue scale was used to represent goals of care, with quality of life (scored as 0) and survival (scored as 100) as anchors. Strong goal of care agreement for survival was defined as oncologist and patient dyadic goal of care scores that fell between 70 and 100 (100 = highest goal for survival) and for comfort, dyadic goal of care values that fell between 0 and 30 (0 = high goal for comfort).
Results: Two hundred and six patients and eleven oncologists provided data. At the last interview prior to death, 23.3% of dyads had strong goal of care agreement for either survival (8.3%) or comfort (15%) and 76.7% had no strong agreement. There was a significant association between aggressive care use and categories of dyadic agreement regarding goals of care (p = 0.024, Cramer’s V = 0.15).
Conclusions: A large percentage of oncologists did not understand their patients’ EOL goals of care. While aggressive care aligned with categories of dyadic agreement for goals of care, high rates of aggressive care were reported.
BACKGROUND: Increasing life expectancy for people with an intellectual disability (ID) is resulting in more persons with cancer and a greater need for end-of-life (EoL) care. There is a need for knowledge of health care utilisation over the last year of life to plan for resources that support a high quality of care for cancer patients with ID. Therefore, the aims of the study were to compare (1) health care utilisation during the last year of life among cancer patients with ID and cancer patients without ID and (2) the place of death in these two groups.
METHODS: The populations were defined using national data from the period 2002-2015, one with ID (n = 15 319) and one matched 5:1 from the general population (n = 72 511). Cancer was identified in the Cause of Death Register, resulting in two study cohorts with 775 cancer patients with ID (ID cohort) and 2968 cancer patients from the general population (gPop cohort).
RESULTS: Cancer patients with ID were less likely than those without ID to have at least one visit in specialist inpatient (relative risk 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.87-0.93) and outpatient (0.88, 0.85-0.91) health care, during their last year of life. Those with ID were more likely to have no or fewer return visits than the patients in the gPop cohort (5 vs. 11, P < 0.001), also when stratifying on sex and median age at death. Most cancer patients with ID died in group homes or in their own homes and fewer in hospital (31%) as compared with cancer patients in the gPop cohort (55%, 0.57, 0.51-0.64).
CONCLUSIONS: Older cancer patients with ID were less likely to be assessed or treated by a specialist. This may suggest that people with ID have unaddressed or untreated distressing symptoms, which strongly contributes to a decreased quality of EoL care and a poor quality of life. There is a need to acquire further knowledge of the EoL care and to focus on adapting and evaluating quality indicators for older cancer patients with ID.
Pain in people with advanced cancer is prevalent. When a stable dose of opioids is established, people still experience episodic breakthrough pain for which dosing of an immediate release opioid is usually a proportion of the total daily dose. This multi-site, double blind, randomised trial tested three dose proportions (1/6, 1/8, 1/12 of total daily dose) in two blocks, each block with three dose proportions in random order (6 numbered bottles in total). When participants required opioid breakthrough doses and it was their first breakthrough dose for that study day, they took the next numbered bottle rather than their usual breakthrough dose. (Subsequent doses on that day reverted to their usual dose.) Eighty five people were randomised in this study of whom 81 took at least one dose and 73 (90%) took at least block one (one of each dose proportion). No dose was found to be optimal at 30 min with approximately one third of participants showing maximal reduction with each dose proportion. Median time to pain relief was 120 min. There were no differences in harms: drowsiness, confusion, nausea or vomiting at 30, 60 or 120 min. This adequately powered study did not show any difference with three dose proportions for reduction in pain intensity, time to pain relief, pain control on the subsequent day nor any difference in harms. From first principles, this suggests 1/12 the 24 hourly dose should be used as the lowest dose that delivers benefit. Future studies should include a placebo arm.
BACKGROUND: Cancer and its treatment can cause persistent psychosocial consequences for patients. Although distress among the general cancer population has been well studied, many patients who report high distress do not receive specialty, follow-up care. We know little about the distress needs of those who attend appointments with support services. Improved knowledge of this subpopulation of patients with cancer may improve supportive care service delivery.
METHODS: This is a descriptive chart review that examines results from a cancer distress tool in an outpatient supportive care clinic and explores factors associated with distress among patients who attend an appointment for support beyond usual oncologic care. All adult patients with a cancer diagnosis presenting to the supportive care clinic during a 120-day period for an initial intake completed a self-report needs assessment tool. A review of medical records was then conducted. Primarily descriptive statistics, mean comparison, and correlational analysis summarized the data.
RESULTS: Nearly 48% of individuals rated very severe distress in at least one area of functioning. Areas with the highest average distress ratings included pain, fatigue, sleep, and anxiety. No significant associations were found between total distress scores and demographic or illness-related variables. Anxiety and depression were higher among those scheduled to see a behavioral health specialist than a palliative provider.
CONCLUSIONS: Patient and illness factors were not associated with needs among those who attended appointments with support providers. Study results suggest that a biopsychosocial approach from interdisciplinary providers is warranted to manage the needs of patients referred for additional supportive care.