Is social support associated with improved clinical outcomes in geriatric lung cancer patients? Observations from North Central Cancer Treatment Group Studies N9921 and N0222
Aminah Jatoi1, Shauna L Hillman1, Katie L Allen Ziegler1, Philip J Stella2, Gamini S Soori3, Kendrith M Rowland Jr4
1Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, MN, USA; 2Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; 3Missouri Valley Cancer Consortium, Omaha, NE, USA; 4Carle Cancer Center CCOP, Urbana, IL, USA
Background: Social support is defined as a network of family/friends who provide practical and emotional help. A sizable literature describes a direct relationship between social support and improved cancer clinical outcomes. This study explored the extent of social support and its potential association with survival and adverse events in geriatric lung cancer patients.
Methods: One hundred thirteen patients, who were aged 65 years or older, had incurable cancer, and were enrolled in one of two chemotherapy trials, completed the Lubben Social Network Scale, a validated instrument that measures social support. All were followed for survival and chemotherapy-related adverse events.
Results: The median age (range) of the cohort was 74 years (65–91), and performance scores of 0, 1, or 2 were observed in 29%, 55%, and 16%, respectively. Forty-two percent were women. This cohort had a high level of social support: 81% reported they “always” had someone to take them to medical appointments. However, there were no gender-based differences in social support and no associations between social support and either survival or adverse events.
Conclusion: In this cohort of geriatric lung cancer patients – all of whom were treated during a clinical trial – there was a high level of social support. However, there were no gender-based differences in extent of social support, and the latter did not predict clinical outcomes.
Keywords: social support, lung cancer, elderly, adverse events, survival
This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.