The influence of life stage on supportive care and information needs in cancer patients: does older age matter?
Watson M., Davolls S., Mohammed K., Shepherd S.
The purpose of this study is to clarify the effect of older age, on supportive care needs, information satisfaction and service needs in the year following a cancer diagnosis.Primary or recurrent prostate, breast, lung or colorectal cancer patients (n = 394) were prospectively surveyed 3 and 9 months post-diagnosis using the Support Care Needs Survey (SCNS-LF59) and Information Satisfaction (ISQ) and Service Needs (SNQ) questionnaires. Two age groups were compared: ≥65 years (senior) versus ≤64 years (junior).Few differences emerged between age groups (SCNS) with the exception of psychological (p < 0.001) and sexuality (p < 0.001) domains where these were greater in the younger patients 3 months post-diagnosis. Sexuality (p < 0.001) and patient care and support (p = 0.023) needs were predicted by age (continuous); younger patients had more needs at 3 months post-diagnosis. For information satisfaction, the older group preferred doctors to make decisions (3 months p < 0.001; 9 months p = 0.008) and preferred positive information (3 months p = 0.006). For the whole group fears about cancer spreading (51 %) and returning (45 %) predominate, alongside patients' concerns about worries of those closest to them (51 %) and uncertainty about their future (42 %) at 3 months.Older patients differ on information satisfaction showing a preference for doctors to make treatment decisions. For supportive care, there were few age differences; however, the SCNS sexuality and patient care and support domains indicate greater need in younger patients around the 3-month period following diagnosis. With a few exceptions, individual rather than age-specific needs determine supportive and informational care requirements.