Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing chemotherapy decision among older cancer patients.
Methods: Patients who had been prescribed a chemotherapy regimen with a projected greater than 50% chance of clinical benefit at an NCI designated comprehensive cancer care center were recruited. Participants were interviewed prior to the start of chemotherapy.
Results: A total of 64 cancer patients participated in the study. About 95.3% were Caucasian, 40.6% were male, and mean age was 73.42 (SD 5.49 years; range from 65 to 88 years old). Data showed that older female cancer patients tended to have lower education (39.5% vs. 26.9% with high school or lower education) and were more likely to be widowed or divorced (53.6% vs. 15.4%), and lived alone (36.8% vs 7.7%). Males were more likely to have cancer diagnoses of later stages. The most important person influencing chemotherapy decision for both males and females was physician (57.7% vs. 44.7% respectively). Older male cancer patients, however, tended to think themselves (19.2%) more important than spouse or children (15.4%) when making treatment decision. On the other hand, older female cancer patients tended to think that spouse or children (28.9%) had greater influences than their own (21.1%). Most common concerns about treatment were fear of side effects (57.6%), followed by transportation (39.1%).
Discussions: Study showed that older cancer male and female patients have different characteristics, cancer stages, and influencers on decision-making. Data provide important information on tailored intervention strategies to encourage chemotherapy with projected clinical benefits.
Learning Objectives: 1. Describe demographic characteristics among older male and female cancer patients. 2. Discuss greatest influencers on chemotherapy decision making among older male and female cancer patients and implication on intervention strategies to encourage chemotherapy with projected clinical benefits.