Posts Tagged ‘life’

Family conflicts, other non-physical worries before cancer surgery raise patients’ complication risk

The findings are published in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery.

“We know that quality of life is a very complex thing, but we can now measure it and work with it almost like blood pressure,” says lead author Juliane Bingener, M.D., a gastroenterologic surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “We can say, ‘This is good, this is in the normal range, but this one here, that is not good, and maybe we should do something.'”

Quality of life as measured in the study is about more than happiness and how well people feel physically, Dr. Bingener says. It also includes the financial, spiritual, emotional, mental and social aspects of their lives and whether their needs are being met.

Researchers studied 431 colon cancer surgery patients and found that before surgery, 13 percent had a quality of life deficit, defined as an overall quality of life score of less than 50 on a 100-point scale.

Nearly three times as many patients who entered surgery with a quality of life deficit experienced serious post-surgery complications as those with a normal or good quality of life score. Patients with a postoperative complication spent 3.5 days longer in the hospital on average than those who didn’t.

“The question I’m exploring is whether, if we understand before surgery that someone is in the red zone for quality of life, can we do something to help them cope with the new stress that’s going to come, so they’re better equipped to go through surgery?” Dr. Bingener says.

Preventing complications by intervening with behavioral therapy or other assistance would likely cost much less than an ICU stay for an infection after major surgery, Dr. Bingener notes.

Stress can weaken patients’ immune response, putting them at higher risk of infection. A patient’s outlook on life can also influence how active they are in working to recover.

“You have a surgery, you’re lying there in pain, now you wonder, ‘Why should I even get up and walk around? Why do I have to do these deep-breathing exercises? I don’t feel like it.’ You might get pneumonia much faster than somebody who says, ‘Oh, I have to get up. There’s something worth living for, my quality of life is good and I need to get back to that,'” Dr. Bingener says.

The study is part of ongoing work by Mayo to identify and address factors that can influence patients’ recovery from cancer surgery, to help improve their outcomes. Years ago, physicians were just concerned with whether patients survived cancer, because survival was so hard to achieve, Dr. Bingener says. Now, there is growing awareness of the mind’s influence on the body’s health.

“We’re understanding much better now that patients are not just a body with a disease: There’s a whole person with that, and everything plays together,” Dr. Bingener says. “Now that survival is possible, we want to achieve it in a way that preserves normal life for patients as much as possible. And we think that’s probably also the most economical way to go.”

source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140902114416.htm

Informed consent: False positives not a worry in lung cancer study

“Most people anticipated that participants who were told that they had a positive screen result would experience increased anxiety and reduced quality of life. However, we did not find this to be the case,” said Ilana Gareen, assistant professor (research) of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the study published in the journal Cancer.

The NLST’s central finding, announced in 2010, was that screening with helical CT scans reduced lung cancer deaths by 20 percent compared to screening with chest X-rays. The huge trial spanned more than a decade, enrolling more than 53,000 smokers at 33 sites.

In the new study, Gareen and co-authors, including Brown faculty and staff members Fenghei Duan, Constantine Gatsonis, Erin Greco, and Bradley Snyder, followed up with a subset of participants at 16 sites to assess the psychological effects of the CT and X-ray screenings compared in the trial.

“In the context of our study, with the consent process that we used, we found no increased anxiety or decreased quality of life at one or six months after screening for participants having a false positive,” Gareen said. “What we expected was that there would be increased anxiety and decreased quality of life at one month and that these symptoms would subside by six months, which is why we measured at both time points, but we didn’t find any changes at either time point.”

The unexpected similarity between the participants with a negative and a false positive screen result is not because getting a false positive diagnosis is at all pleasant, Gareen said, but presumably because study participants understood that there was a high likelihood of a false positive screen result.

“We think that the staff at each of the NLST sites did a very good job of providing informed consent to our participants,” she said. “In advance of any screening, participants were advised that 20 to 50 percent of those screened would receive false positive results, and that the participants might require additional work-up to confirm that they were cancer free.”

Reassuring results

To make its assessments, Gareen’s team surveyed 2,812 NLST participants for the study. Patients responded well, with 2,317 returning the survey at one month after screening and 1,990 returning the survey at six months. The survey included two standardized questionnaires: the 36-question Short Form SF-36, which elicits self-reports of general physical and mental health quality, and the 20-question Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory.

Maryann Duggan and her staff from the Outcomes and Economics Assessment Unit at Brown administered the questionnaires by mail with telephone follow-up as required.

In the study analysis, the researchers divided people into groups based on their ultimate accurate diagnoses: 1,024 participants were “false positive,” 63 were “true positive,” 1,381 were “true negative” and 344 had a “significant incidental finding,” meaning they didn’t have cancer but instead had another possible problem of medical importance.

The results were clear after statistical adjustment for factors that could have had a confounding influence. Whether participants received X-rays or the helical CT scans, the questionnaire scores of those with false positive diagnoses remained similar to those who were given true negative diagnoses.

Meanwhile, the scores of the true positive participants who were diagnosed with lung cancer markedly worsened over time as their battle with the disease took a physical and psychological toll.

Because participants received the questionnaires at one and six months, it is possible that study participants receiving a false positive screen result experienced anxiety and reduced quality of life for a short time after receiving their screen result, Gareen said. But by one month after their screening, there was no evidence of a difference between the screen result groups.

Gareen said the results should encourage physicians to recommend appropriate screenings, despite their high false positive rates, so long as patients are properly informed of the likelihood of a positive screen result and its implications. The data provide evidence that the NLST consent process provided a good model for advising those undergoing screening, she said.

source : http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140725080404.htm