An analysis of patients with newly diagnosed lung and colorectal cancers demonstrated that minority patients, as well as those with lower incomes and less education, are more likely to report unmet needs for symptom management.
Diana Tisnado, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, and colleagues reviewed surveys completed by 5,425 patients from the Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium. Patients completed the surveys about 5 months after diagnosis.
Their documented symptoms included pain, fatigue, depression, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dyspnea.
About 15% of all patients (791 of 5,425) reported at least one unmet need for symptom management within 4 weeks of taking the survey.
Patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer were more likely to report unmet symptom management needs than patients with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer (18.5% vs. 11.4%; P<.05).
Researchers examined the results based on several patient characteristics. Among their findings:
- About 19.4% of Hispanic patients and 17.5% of black patients reported unmet needs vs. 13.6% of white patients.
- Patients who were not married were more likely to report unmet needs than married patients (16.6% vs. 13.2%; P<.05).
- Patients aged younger than 60 years were more likely to report unmet needs than patients aged older than 80 years (17.7% vs. 10.4%; P<.05).
- Patients with annual income of less than $20,000 were more likely to report unmet needs than patients with annual incomes of at least $60,000 (19.1% vs. 10.3%; P<.05).
- Patients who did not finish high school were more likely to report unmet needs than patients who attained a college degree (17.1% vs. 12.1%; P<.05).
“Unmet needs for symptom management in newly diagnosed lung and colorectal cancer patients are relatively common, especially among minorities and those with low income and education,” the researchers wrote. “Interventions targeting such groups may help address these disparities.”
For more information:
- Tisnado D. Abstract #412-C. Presented at: The Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine & Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association; March 7-10, 2012; Denver.