Mortality Risk Up for Cancer Survivors With Elevated Loneliness

Survivors reporting greatest loneliness have higher mortality risk versus those reporting low/no loneliness
Mortality Risk Up for Cancer Survivors With Elevated Loneliness
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MONDAY, May 6, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer survivors with elevated loneliness have a higher mortality risk, according to a study published online April 25 in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Jingxuan Zhao, M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues identified a longitudinal cohort of cancer survivors aged 50 years and older from the nationally representative panel surveys of the 2008 to 2018 Health and Retirement Study. Loneliness was assessed using an 11-item abbreviated version of the UCLA Loneliness Scale; scores for the items were summed to create total loneliness scores for each individual, which were categorized into levels: 11 to 12 (low/no loneliness), 13 to 15 (mild loneliness), 16 to 19 (moderate loneliness), and 20 to 33 (severe loneliness).

Data were included for 3,447 cancer survivors with 5,808 person-years of observation; 24.3, 24.5, 23.6, and 27.6 percent, respectively, reported low/no, mild, moderate, and severe loneliness, respectively. The researchers found that survivors reporting greater loneliness had a higher mortality risk compared with those reporting low/no loneliness, with the highest adjusted hazard ratios seen among the group with the greatest loneliness (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.67), in accordance with a dose-response pattern.

"Programs to enhance coordination and collaboration among providers across different specialties and integrate loneliness screening into primary care and oncology care are warranted," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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