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Self-Care Disability Decreases Likelihood of NSCLC Therapy for NH Patients

March 02, 2021

Already uncommon, systemic cancer therapy for nursing home patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is even less likely when patients have limitations that interfere with self-care, according to a study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology

The finding stems from an investigation involving 3174 nursing home residents in the United States with advanced NSCLC.

Within 3 months of diagnosis, just 13.1% of patients received systemic cancer therapies, researchers found.

The study also identified a strong negative association between various disabilities in activities of daily living (ADL) and cancer therapy. Odds ratios of receiving cancer treatment per specific ADL disability areas were 0.52 for dressing, 0.52 for toileting, 0.48 for personal hygiene, 0.51 for transfers, 0.55 for bed mobility, 0.57 for locomotion, and 0.45 for eating. 

Compared with no ADL disability, odds ratios for chemotherapy treatment per number of ADL disabilities were 0.95 for one or two ADL disabilities, 0.81 for three or four ADL disabilities, and 0.43 for five to seven ADL disabilities. 

“Systemic cancer therapy is not commonly used in this population,” researchers reported, “and is strongly predicted by disability in self-care tasks.”

Jolynn Tumolo


Panagiotou OA, Keeney T, Ogarek JA, Wulff-Burchfield E, Olszewski AJ, Bélanger E. Prevalence of functional limitations and their associations with systemic cancer therapy among older adults in nursing homes with advanced non-small cell lung cancer [published online ahead of print, 2021 Feb 17]. J Geriatr Oncol. 2021;S1879-4068(21)00016-3. doi:10.1016/j.jgo.2021.02.007

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