Thursday, June 14, 2012

ASCO - Patient and Survivor Care

Part four in my ASCO report. 
I spent time chatting with researchers and reading many posters related to patient survivorship issues at ASCO. It pleased me that researchers were spending time looking at quality of life, anxiety , sexual function , support efforts, hope, obesity and improving side effects. 
The researchers looked at obesity and survival in ovarian cancer patients. They compared 130 obese vs 240 non-obese women with the disease. The time to recurrence was identical at 15 months in both groups. They concluded that obesity does not impact time to recurrence. (Abstract 5049)
Quality of Life/ Hope 
This longitudinal study by researchers from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America studied whether changes in quality of life could predict survival in ovarian cancer patients treated in an integrated model. There were 137 patients in the study and included newly diagnosed and those with recurrences. Quality of Life questionnaires were completed at initial visits and at 3 months of treatment. Preliminary evidence showed that patients with improved quality of life at three months had significantly longer survival. (Abstract 5049)
Researchers from Germany used a questionnaire to study sexual function in ovarian cancer patients. The study included over 700 women. Half of the women reported they were not sexually active. Results showed that sexual activity was impaired in women with ovarian cancer but that it did not impact their quality of life. The researchers concluded that a shift in priorities regarding anxiety due to cancer survival may have impacted the results.(Abstract 5051)
A longitudinal study by MD Anderson researchers studied ovarian cancer patients at MD Anderson, an academic cancer center and a community hospital. Results showed that underserved patients in the community hospital setting had poorer quality of life and that the future depended on “luck” or “others”. than those at the cancer centers. ( Abstract 9134) This is the poster of the work Dr L Ranondetta described at the Grand Rounds at St Peters University Hospital in May.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation researchers fielded a LiveSTRONG Survey for People Affected by Cancer. The survey looked at post treatment concerns and treatment summaries. Results showed that only one third of the patients received a treamtnet summary. Those patients that did receive a summary had a variety of positive outcomes. ( Abstract 9136)
Therapy management/ Anxiety
A German Study surveyed 676 ovarian cancer patients  regarding their expectations and needs about their therapy and doctor /patient communications. They found there is a high need of patients to discuss all details of treatment options and clinical management. the three most important aspects were “More time for discussion”, “therapy should not lead to hair loss” ad “therapy should be more effective”. 
Side Effects/ Hair loss
This prospective study of chemo induced hair loss with and without scalp cooling was done by researchers in Canada. Researchers studied 130+ women with and without a scalp cooling device.  The study used  a survey and photos were taken before treatment,at 3 cycles and at the end of treatment. The result showed 49% of women who used the scalp cooling described their  “Success” as none or little hair loss . While 4% of women who did not use the scalp cooling had “Success”.   Hair stylists reported “success at 34% for those using the cooling device (Abstract 9138)
Every Day is a Blessing!


Maggie H. said...

How did the researchers in the Cancer Treatment of America define "quality of life"? This result strikes me that correlation is not causation. Is there anywhere one can read the actual studies?

Dee said...

The Abstract is available on the ASCO site to attendees but here is the Method from the abstract. They used the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life questionnaire which was a standard survey tool.
ABSTRACT 5049 Method-
"QoL was evaluated at baseline and after 3 months of treatment using EORTC-QLQ-C30. The QLQ-C30 incorporates a global scale, 5 function scales and 8 symptom scales. Patient survival was defined as the time between date of first patient visit and date of death from any cause/date of last contact. Cox regression was performed to evaluate the prognostic significance of baseline and changes in QoL scores after adjusting for age, treatment history and stage at diagnosis. "
They concluded that "This exploratory study provides some preliminary evidence to indicate that ovarian cancer patients whose QoL improves within 3 months of treatment have a significantly increased survival time compared to those who fail to demonstrate improvement. These findings might be used in clinical practice to systematically address QoL-related problems of ovarian cancer patients throughout their treatment course."
I hope this helps.