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Lung Cancer Treatment May Impact Daily Function in Older Adults

Life-space assessments may help older adults better understand how cancer treatment impacts their lives, authors say

THURSDAY, Oct. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Older adults with lung cancer may experience declines in life-space mobility during treatment, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Melisa L. Wong, M.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues assessed characteristics associated with pretreatment life-space mobility (ability to move within one’s environment from the home to the greater community) and changes during non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. The analysis included 93 older adults (median age, 73 years) with advanced NSCLC starting palliative chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and/or targeted therapy from a Comprehensive Cancer Center, Veterans Affairs, or safety-net clinic.

The researchers found that on average, life-space assessment (LSA) declined 10.1 points from pretreatment to one month and remained stable at six months. There was an association between the pretreatment LSA score and several demographic, clinical, geriatric assessment, and symptom characteristics. At one month, LSA decline was greater among patients with high anxiety. LSA improvement from one to six months was associated with pretreatment body mass index <21 kg/m2.

“Incorporating LSA into clinical cancer care may help older adults concretely visualize how treatment might impact their daily function to allow for informed decision making and identify early changes in mobility to implement supportive interventions,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical technology industries.

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