Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Psychosocial Status and Geriatric Abnormalities in Metastatic Breast Cancer

By: Cordi Craig
Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020

Psychosocial status is a component of the Geriatric Assessment, a tool for evaluating older patients’ fitness for treatment, and seems to have a strong association with cancer outcomes. In a report originally slated for presentation at the 2020 NCCN Annual Conference (Abstract HSR20-093) and published in the JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, found that, in older patients with metastatic breast cancer, deficits in psychosocial activity also seem to be linked to higher incidences of geriatric abnormalities. Efrat Dotan, MD, of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, and colleagues concluded that support deficits should be addressed among older patients to optimize treatment outcomes.

Geriatric assessments were administered to 100 patients aged 65 or older with metastatic breast cancer. The research team evaluated depression and social support. Depression was measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale, and social support was further stratified into objective social support, including marital status and living situation, and perceived social support, measured using the Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey.

About two-thirds of the patient population lived with at least one other person, and more than half were married or in a domestic partnership. However, of the 31% who lived alone, the majority (65%) reported low perceived social support. Patients who were single or widowed reported much higher incidences of low perceived social support (69% and 80%, respectively) than married patients (37%).

Increasing perceived social support and geriatric depression scores indicated lower psychosocial status and were related to higher geriatric abnormalities. All of the patients with low perceived social support had at least three comorbidities. Borderline depression, cognitive dysfunction, and risk of fall were some of the most common abnormalities, occurring in 80%, 72%, and 76% of patients, respectively, who indicated low perceived social support. Emotional support was the most prominent deficit, occurring in 71% of the population.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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