Changes in Older Adults’ Life Space During Lung Cancer Treatment

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10/08/2021

Photo: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

EurekAlert.org

New research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that older adults with non-small cell lung cancer often have low life-space mobility prior to starting lung cancer treatment. Life-space mobility is the ability to move within one’s environment from the home to the greater community.

Life-Space Assessment scores can range from 0 to 120, and a score below 60 is considered restricted. Among 93 participants aged 65 to 94 years, the average pretreatment score was 67. On average, the score declined 10 points from pretreatment to one month after treatment started and remained low at six months.  

The decline at one month was greater among patients with high anxiety. On the other hand, a lower body mass index prior to starting treatment was associated with an improvement in the score during treatment.  

“Life-space mobility is a well-studied patient-centered outcome in general aging research but is only now being examined for older adults with cancer,” said lead author Melisa L. Wong, MD, MAS, of the University of California, San Francisco. “Our study’s novel design provided a unique lens into how quantitative changes in life-space mobility are experienced qualitatively by older adults with lung cancer.”

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