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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2012 Aug;42(8):704-10. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hys075. Epub 2012 May 11.

Perceived needs, psychological distress and quality of life of elderly cancer patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Cognitive-Behavioral Medicine, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.



Very few findings regarding the perceived needs of elderly cancer patients have been reported. This study investigated needs and psychological distress perceived by and/or quality of life of elderly cancer patients.


Randomly selected ambulatory patients with cancer participated in this study. The patients were asked to complete the Short-form Supportive Care Needs Survey questionnaire, which covers five domains of need (health system and information, psychological, physical, care and support, and sexual); the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C 30.


Complete data were available for 619 cancer patients, including 113 subjects who were over 70 years old. The needs and the psychological distress perceived by the elderly patients were comparable with those perceived by relatively younger patients, although elderly patients perceived fewer sexual needs. Regarding the quality of life global health status, most symptom-related quality of life parameters were not significantly different between the two groups, while significant differences were observed with regard to several functional domains, including physical, emotional and social domains in addition to financial difficulties.


Only a few differences in the needs and the psychological distress perceived by patients existed between the elderly and the younger subjects, although some differences in the quality of life domains were noted, probably as a result of the influence of aging itself. Medical staff should provide elderly cancer patients with good clinical care similar to that provided to younger patients while considering the different impacts of aging on each quality of life dimension.

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