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Theses Doctoral

Predictors and Outcomes of Health-Related Quality of Life in Older Adults Diagnosed with Cancer

Vang, Suzanne Sharry

Advances in cancer treatment coupled with a rapid aging of the population have contributed to an unprecedented growth in the number of older adult cancer survivors. While this growth reflects remarkable scientific achievements, cancer and its treatment can precipitate a range of physical and psychological health complications, which can be amplified in old age. Preserving the health-related quality of life of older cancer survivors is one of the most important concerns in cancer survivorship care. However, few studies have examined predictors of health-related quality of life in older adults with cancer, and even fewer have included racial and ethnic minority groups in their studies. The following collection of papers address these issues by using three population-based datasets to identify predictors and outcomes of health-related quality of life in older adults diagnosed with cancer. Data for the first paper is derived from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and indicates that older adult cancer survivors have significantly better health-related quality of life than their middle-aged counterparts. However, older adults who are from racial or ethnic minority groups, those who face financial barriers to health care, are unmarried, or have greater co-morbidities are at risk of having poor health- related quality of life. In the second paper, which analyzed data from the merged Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results – Medicare Health Outcomes Survey dataset, older Asian American and Pacific Islander cancer survivors are found to have significantly worse mental health-related quality of life than older Non-Hispanic White cancer survivors. Across both groups, income and physical functioning are important predictors of health-related quality of life. Older Asian American and Pacific Islander cancer survivors who are less acculturated are at greater risk of having poor health-related quality of life. The third paper, which analyzed data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study, identifies social engagement as a significant predictor of subjective well-being. It also indicates that older adult cancer survivors who are not married and those experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression are more likely to report poor subjective well-being. Collectively, these three papers demonstrate the need for strategies to improve the health-related quality of life of older racial and ethnic minority cancer survivors, and highlights the important contribution of social connections to health-related quality of life.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Mui, Ada C.
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 26, 2017
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