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Attitudes to chemotherapy for the older patient with cancer

Brewster, A. E., Hackett, P., Maughan, T. S., O'Mahoney, S., Branston, L. K., Price, Patricia Elaine, Robbe, I., Adams-Jones, D., Cannings, R., Morrison, V. and Cohen, D. 2001. Attitudes to chemotherapy for the older patient with cancer. British Journal of Cancer 85 (S1) , p. 64.

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Abstract

Background Evidence suggests that older patients are under investigated and undertreated and experience worse outcomes than younger patients (1). Clinicians are unsure about offering chemotherapy to older patients because of uncertainty about whether the likely benefits in terms of survival and QOL are sufficiently worthwhile to an older person when balanced against likely toxicity and costs of treatment. Methods A questionnaire has been developed, piloted and psychometrically validated to try and identify social attitudes towards cancer treatment for the older patient. 1000 questionnaires containing 24 individual and multidimensional questions were sent to a random sample of the general public. Results The response rate, 17%, was low but analyses demonstrated 1). the reliability of the questionnaire 2). clear attitudes to the use of chemotherapy with respect to potential benefit and 3). that respondents understood the complex multivariable treatment scenarios. Although age modified response, QOL and survival benefits remained the overriding consideration. Over 95% of respondents felt that chemotherapy should be considered for patients aged 56 or less but 71.6% felt that it should still be considered even at age 79. 74.6% considered that a survival benefit of 6 months or more, as seen with palliative colorectal or breast cancer, was worthwhile. Survival benefits of between 1 and 10% (as seen with many adjuvant therapies) produced a wide range of responses suggesting that clinicians cannot assume how useful an individual may perceive a treatment. It is now our intention to send the questionnaire to a random sample of health professionals to compare and contrast attitudes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0007-0920
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:04
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/31968

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