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Article

Socio-Economic Deprivation and Symptom Burden in UK Hospice Patients with Advanced Cancer—Findings from a Longitudinal Study

1
Academic Palliative and Supportive Care Studies Group, Primary Care and Mental Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
2
Monash Medical Centre, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pierandrea De Iaco
Cancers 2021, 13(11), 2537; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112537
Received: 23 April 2021 / Revised: 19 May 2021 / Accepted: 19 May 2021 / Published: 21 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supportive and Palliative Care in Oncology)
We know that socio-economic factors influence delay in presentation and diagnosis of cancer and that patients living in areas of greater socio-economic deprivation are less likely to be referred to palliative care services including hospice. However, very little is known regarding the impact of socio-economic deprivation on symptom burden in advanced cancer patients. Our study found that patients experiencing greater socio-economic deprivation were more likely to report depression and pain and greater global symptom burden than patients from less socio-economically deprived areas. We also found that reporting a lack of information at time of diagnosis was significantly associated with socio-economic deprivation. Although more than one-third of patients recruited into this study were diagnosed with cancer within the preceding 12 months, this was not associated with socio-economic factors and socio-economic factors did not appear to influence survival in our study. The impact of socio-economic factors on symptom burden and information needs should be acknowledged within palliative care settings.
Socio-economic deprivation is known to impact on cancer diagnosis, treatment and access to services, but little is known of the impact of socio-economic deprivation on symptom burden in patients with advanced cancer. Patients with advanced cancer attending hospice day services were recruited into a 24 week longitudinal study. An area-based index of social deprivation was collected along with depression and symptom burden at baseline, 8, 16 and 24 weeks. Of the 595 patients included, with an age range of 33–89 years and a mean age of 68 years, 67% were female, and 37% were diagnosed with cancer in the last 12 months. Twenty nine percent lived in one of the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods. Patients living in the most socio-economically deprived areas were significantly likely to report receiving insufficient information regarding their cancer at diagnosis (p = 0.007), greater pain (p = 0.02), moderate to severe depression (p = 0.04) and higher global symptom burden (p = 0.04). This study is the first to report that patients with advanced cancer attending hospice services, living in the most deprived neighbourhoods experience significantly greater symptom burden, notably depression and pain. We recommend using patient outcome measures in order to provide targeted support and thereby reduce the increased symptom burden that socio-economically disadvantaged patients experience at the end of life. View Full-Text
Keywords: socio-economic deprivation; palliative care; advanced cancer; symptom burden; pain; depression socio-economic deprivation; palliative care; advanced cancer; symptom burden; pain; depression
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lloyd-Williams, M.; Shiels, C.; Dowrick, C.; Kissane, D. Socio-Economic Deprivation and Symptom Burden in UK Hospice Patients with Advanced Cancer—Findings from a Longitudinal Study. Cancers 2021, 13, 2537. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112537

AMA Style

Lloyd-Williams M, Shiels C, Dowrick C, Kissane D. Socio-Economic Deprivation and Symptom Burden in UK Hospice Patients with Advanced Cancer—Findings from a Longitudinal Study. Cancers. 2021; 13(11):2537. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112537

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lloyd-Williams, Mari, Christopher Shiels, Christopher Dowrick, and David Kissane. 2021. "Socio-Economic Deprivation and Symptom Burden in UK Hospice Patients with Advanced Cancer—Findings from a Longitudinal Study" Cancers 13, no. 11: 2537. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112537

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