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    For better quality of life, older cancer patients need more than just medicine

    For elderly patients with cancer – who often focus on making the most of the time they have left – financial stability, leisure pursuits and physical activity may have large influences on quality of life, a U.S. study suggests.
    Almost two-thirds of the 15 million people living with cancer nationwide are at least 65 years old, researchers note in the journal Cancer.
    For these patients, “many issues that frequently go unnoticed, such as financial hardship, lack of social support, and unaddressed symptoms can have a tremendous impact on how patients do and affect their quality of life,” said lead study author Maria Pisu, a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
    “Patients that lack sufficient emotional support often have more difficulty adjusting and coping with a cancer diagnosis, and cancer treatments and frequent physician visits can cause undue financial burden: all of these have a strong impact on a patient’s sense of well-being,” Pisu said by email.
    To see what makes the biggest difference in quality of life, researchers surveyed 1,457 older cancer patients about a wide range of physical, psychological, and social factors.

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