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Assessment of Functional Status and Quality of Life of Elderly Patients Undergoing Radiotherapy and Radiotherapy Combined with Chemotherapy – A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Muszalik M, Repka I, Puto G, Kowal-Skałka J, Kędziora-Kornatowska K

Received 22 September 2020

Accepted for publication 1 December 2020

Published 7 January 2021 Volume 2021:16 Pages 9—18


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Marta Muszalik,1 Iwona Repka,2 Grażyna Puto,2 Justyna Kowal-Skałka,2 Kornelia Kędziora-Kornatowska1

1Department of Geriatrics, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Bydgoszcz, 85-094, Poland; 2Department of Clinical Nursing, Institute of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health Sciences, Jagiellonian University Medical College Cracow, Kraków 31-501, Poland

Correspondence: Marta Muszalik
Department of Geriatrics, Collegium Medicum, ul. Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej 9, Bydgoszcz 85-094, Poland
Tel +48 52 585 4900
Fax +48 52 585 4921

Background: Aging is associated with various diseases, a plethora of which are oncological. Selected treatment methods influence the performance status and the adaptability to changing circumstances.
Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the functional status, quality of life, and adaptation to disease of elderly patients who underwent only radiotherapy or chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy.
Patients and Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of 76 patients diagnosed with cancer, over 60 years of age (mean 69.3/SD 6.8) who were hospitalized in the Radiotherapy Department at the Ludwik Rydygier Hospital in Krakow. Standardized research tools were: Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT-F), Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale (Mini-MAC), Lawton Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL), Yesavage Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), an assessment scale of the post radiation reaction devised by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG).
Results: Most (n=37) patients were treated with a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy (48.6%), whereas 21 patients underwent only radiotherapy (27.6%). More than half of the respondents were male (68.4%, n = 52), whereas 24 (31.6%) were female. The assessment of the participants’ performance status yielded results indicating an average level of all domains. Men performed better in terms of physical condition compared to a group of women (p=0.010). Women experienced fatigue more frequently than men (p=0.012). Patients who had received radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy achieved on average better results in functional well-being (FWB) than the patients who had undergone radiotherapy only (p=0.046). Depression had a significant impact on all spheres of functioning (p< 0.001) except social/family well-being.
Conclusion: The results pointed to the essential elements that should be taken into consideration in relation to treatment planning and providing care. Particular attention should be paid to women who suffered from depression and negative adaptation strategies that directly affect their functioning.

Keywords: functional status, FACIT-F, Mini-MAC, IADL, EORTC/RTOG, GDS, radiotherapy, chemotherapy

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