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Diabetes and Cancer: Impact on Health-Related Quality of Life

Denise Soltow Hershey
Barbara Given
Charles Given
Alexander von Eye
Mei You
ONF 2012, 39(5), 449-457 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.449-457

Purpose/Objectives: To explore whether three factors (physical function, mental health, and social function) of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) are impacted differently in patients with cancer and diabetes when compared to those with cancer who do not have diabetes at the beginning of chemotherapy.

Design: Secondary analysis using baseline data from two randomized, controlled trials.

Setting: Two comprehensive cancer centers, one community cancer oncology program, and six hospital-affiliated community oncology centers.

Sample: 661 patients aged 21 years or older with a solid tumor cancer or lymphoma undergoing cancer treatment.

Methods: Baseline data from both randomized, controlled trials were used. The SF-36® was used to measure physical function, mental health, and social function. Analysis included descriptive statistics and a general linear model.

Main Research Variables: Presence or absence of diabetes and physical function, social function, and mental health.

Findings: Patients with cancer and diabetes had significantly lower levels of physical function (p < 0.001) when compared to those who had cancer without diabetes. The interaction of diabetes and age was found to be significantly predictive of mental health (p < 0.05).

Conclusions: The presence of diabetes negatively impacts physical function and mental health in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Implications for Nursing: Nurses should be aware of diabetes' effect on HRQOL in patients with cancer. In addition, nurses may need to intervene earlier for patients with diabetes and cancer to maintain or improve their quality of life.

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