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Social Needs Linked to Lower HRQOL for Black Cancer Survivors

More than one-third of cancer survivors reported social needs, with highest prevalence for food insecurity

African american woman getting blood pressure checked

MONDAY, Nov. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Social needs are associated with lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among African American cancer survivors, according to a study published online Nov. 23 in Cancer.

Theresa A. Hastert, Ph.D., from the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, and colleagues estimated the correlations between social needs and HRQOL among 1,754 survivors of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer from the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors cohort. The validated Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) was used to measure HRQOL.

The researchers found that 36.3 percent of the survivors reported social needs, with 17.1 percent of survivors reporting two or more. There was variation in the prevalence of social needs, from 8.9 to 14.8 percent for utility shutoffs and food insecurity, respectively. The validated FACT-G score differences associated with social needs were −12.2, −11.3, −10.1, −9.8, −8.6, and −6.7 for not getting care due to lack of transportation, housing instability, food insecurity, feeling unsafe in the neighborhood, utility shutoffs, and not getting care because of cost, respectively.

"My hope is that these findings raise awareness among cancer care providers and cancer researchers that many patients face substantial social and financial difficulties and that these have real impacts on patients' health-related quality of life on top of cancer and cancer treatment," Hastert said in a statement.

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