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Social Distress ID'd in Minority of Colorectal Cancer Survivors

Strongest predictor of social distress is having three or more long-term conditions

FRIDAY, Sept. 4, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- A minority of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors experience social distress (SD), and having multiple long-term conditions is the strongest predictor, according to a study published online Aug. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Penny Wright, Ph.D., from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the prevalence and determinants of poor social outcomes after CRC diagnosis. They sent questionnaires that included the Social Difficulties Inventory, a 16-item scale of SD, to all 12- to 36-month survivors of CRC diagnosed in 2010 or 2011 and treated in the National Health Service.

The researchers note that the response rate was 63.3 percent, and 81.8 percent of the 21,802 respondents completed all SD items. Of these respondents, 15.1 percent were classified as experiencing SD. Having three or more long-term conditions was identified as the strongest predictor of SD in multivariable analysis (odds ratio, 6.64 compared with no long-term conditions). Other predictors included unemployment (odds ratio, 5.11 versus being employed), having recurrent or untreatable disease (odds ratio, 2.75 versus being in remission), and having a stoma (odds ratio, 2.1 versus not having a stoma).

"Although it is reassuring a majority do not experience social difficulties, a minority reported significant SD 12 to 36 months after diagnosis of CRC," the authors write. "The identified clinical and social risk factors are easy to establish and should be used to target support."

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