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.
PURPOSE: 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. METHODS: 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). RESULTS: 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. CONCLUSIONS: 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.