A pilot study assessing social support among cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials: A comparison of younger versus older adults

Paul J. Novotny, Denise J. Smith, Lorna Guse, Teresa A. Rummans, Lynn Hartmann, Steven Alberts, Richard Goldberg, David Gregory, Mary Johnson, Jeff A. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study tested the logistical feasibility of obtaining data on social support systems from cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials and compared the social support of older adults (age >65) and younger adults (<50 years of age) with cancer. Methods: Patients had to be eligible for a phase II or phase III oncology clinical trial and enter the study prior to treatment. Patients filled out the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS) at baseline. The Symptom Distress Scale (SDS) and single-item overall quality of life (QOL) Uniscale were assessed at baseline and weekly for 4 weeks. Results: There was no significant difference in overall mean Lubben social support levels by age. Older patients had more relatives they felt close to (85% versus 53% with 5 or more relatives, P = 0.02), heard from more friends monthly (84% versus 53% with 3 or more friends, P = 0.02), less overall symptom distress (P = 0.03), less insomnia (P = 0.003), better concentration (P = 0.005), better outlook (P = 0.01), and less depression (P = 0.005) than younger patients. Conclusions: Younger subjects reported worse symptoms, a smaller social support network, and fewer close friends and relatives than older subjects. Having someone to discuss decisions and seeing friends or relatives often was associated with longer survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Management and Research
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Keywords

  • Elderly
  • Lubben scale
  • QOL
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A pilot study assessing social support among cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials: A comparison of younger versus older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this