Association of a cancer diagnosis with vulnerability and frailty in older medicare beneficiaries

Supriya Gupta Mohile, Ying Xian, William Dale, Susan G. Fisher, Miriam Rodin, Gary R. Morrow, Alfred Neugut, William Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Few studies have evaluated the independent effect of a cancer diagnosis on vulnerability and frailty, which have been associated with adverse health outcomes in older adults. MethodsWe used data in the 2003 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey from a nationally representative sample of 12480 community-dwelling elders. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to evaluate whether cancer was independently associated with vulnerability and frailty. Measures of vulnerability and frailty included disability, geriatric syndromes, self-rated health, and scores on two assessment tools for elderly cancer patients - the Vulnerable Elders Survey-13 (VES-13) and the Balducci frailty criteria. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results Diagnosis of a non-skin cancer was reported by 18.8% of the respondents. Compared with respondents without a cancer history, respondents with a personal history of cancer had a statistically significantly higher prevalence of limitations in activities of daily living (31.9% vs 26.9%), limitations in instrumental activities of daily living (49.5% vs 42.3%), geriatric syndromes (60.8% vs 53.9%), low self-rated health (27.4% vs 20.9%), score of 3 or higher on the VES-13 (45.8% vs 39.5%), and satisfying criteria for frailty as defined by Balducci (79.6% vs 73.4%) (P <. 001 for all characteristics). After adjustment for confounders, a cancer diagnosis was found to be associated with low self-rated health (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.30 to 1.64; relative risk [RR] = 1.33), limitations in activities of daily living (adjusted OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.06 to 1.33; RR = 1.13), limitations in instrumental activities of daily living (adjusted OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.38; RR = 1.13), a geriatric syndrome (adjusted OR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.15 to 1.41; RR = 1.11), VES-13 score of 3 or higher (adjusted OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.41; RR = 1.14), and frailty (adjusted OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.29 to 1.65; RR = 1.09) as defined by Balducci criteria. Conclusion Diagnosis of a non-skin cancer was associated with increased levels of having disability, having geriatric syndromes, and meeting criteria for vulnerability and frailty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1206-1215
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Volume101
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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