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Palliat Support Care. 2007 Jun;5(2):107-14.

Improving the quality of life of geriatric cancer patients with a structured multidisciplinary intervention: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Psychiatry & Psychology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



To examine the potential impact of elderly age on response to participation in a structured, multidisciplinary quality-of-life (QOL) intervention for patients with advanced cancer undergoing radiation therapy.


Study design was a randomized stratified, two group, controlled clinical trial in the setting of a tertiary care comprehensive cancer center. Subjects with newly diagnosed cancer and an estimated 5-year survival rate of 0%-50% who required radiation therapy were recruited and randomly assigned to either an intervention group or a standard care group. The intervention consisted of eight 90-min sessions designed to address the five QOL domains of cognitive, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social functioning. QOL was measured using Spitzer uniscale and linear analogue self-assessment (LASA) at baseline and weeks 4, 8, and 27.


Of the 103 study participants, 33 were geriatric (65 years or older), of which 16 (mean age 72.4 years) received the intervention and 17 (mean age 71.4 years) were assigned to the standard medical care. The geriatric participants who completed the intervention had higher QOL scores at baseline, at week 4 and at week 8, compared to the control participants.


Our results demonstrate that geriatric patients with advanced cancer undergoing radiation therapy will benefit from participation in a structured multidisciplinary QOL intervention. Therefore, geriatric individuals should not be excluded from participating in a cancer QOL intervention, and, in fact, elderly age may be an indicator of strong response to a QOL intervention. Future research should further explore this finding.

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