Evaluation of health behaviors and overall quality of life in younger adult African American cancer survivors

Cancer Med. 2022 Jun 2. doi: 10.1002/cam4.4855. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies of cancer survivors have predominantly focused on non-Hispanic White, elderly patients, despite the observation that African Americans have higher rates of mortality. Therefore, we characterized cancer survivorship in younger African American survivors using the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors (ROCS) study to assess health behaviors and quality of life.

METHODS: Five hundred and seventeen patients diagnosed with any cancer between the ages of 20-49 (mean age: 42 years; SD: 6.7 years) completed a survey to identify important clinical, behavioral, and sociodemographic characteristics, measures of health literacy, and experiences of discrimination. Quality of life outcomes were evaluated in patients using FACT-G, FACT-Cog, and PROMIS® Anxiety and Depression scales. Stepwise linear and logistic regression were used to assess the association between quality of life measures and participant characteristics.

RESULTS: The mean FACT-G score was 74.1 (SD: 21.3), while the FACT-Cog was 55.1 (SD: 17.1) (FACT-G range 0-108 with higher scores indicating better function; elderly cancer patient mean: 82.2; FACT-Cog 18-item range 0-72 points with higher scores indicating better perceived cognitive functioning; scores <54 indicating cognitive impairment). In addition, 27.1% and 21.6% of patients had a score indicative of moderate or severe anxiety and depression, respectively. Perceived discrimination and the number of discriminatory events were significantly associated with reductions in three of the four quality of life measures. Health literacy was positively associated with all four health measures, while total comorbidity count was negatively associated with three of the four measures.

CONCLUSION: Younger adult African American cancer survivors who report experiencing discrimination and suffer from multiple comorbid conditions have poorer mental and overall health. Understanding the unique clinical and socioeconomic stressors that influence this patient population is essential for reducing health disparities and improving long-term survivorship.

PMID:35655423 | DOI:10.1002/cam4.4855