New Treatments Needed for Those Disabled by Advanced Gastric Cancer

Brielle Urciuoli

Patients with advanced gastric cancer tend to use their health care resources more often and have a worse quality of life than those without the disease, according to a study whose results were presented Sept. 9 at the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid, Spain. The findings point to the need for new treatment options for this population, the authors concluded.

Researchers on the study collected data from 265 physicians, who reported on a total 724 patients from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (EU5) and Canada. Data provided included: the patients’ disease history; characteristics of the disease; health care resource utilization; and caregiver burden.

Understanding the issues of patients with gastric cancer was particularly important to the researchers, as it is the fifth most common cancer in the world. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, there were more than 952,000 new cases of gastric cancer diagnosed in the year 2012.

“Relative to the EU5 general population norms for ages 65 to 74, patients had a worse health utility and overall health,” the authors wrote.

On average, most patients visited their oncologist 13.4 times within 12 months, the researchers found.

The average patient age of those included in the study was 63. The majority (65 percent) of them were male; 74 percent were retired, unemployed or on sick leave.
But the study also found that it is not only the person with the disease who is affected by advanced gastric cancer. Thirty-nine percent of patients had caregivers who were reported to have spent an average of 47.6 hours a week caring for them. Most caregivers (76 percent) were the partner or spouse of the patients, and nearly all of them (82 percent) said that they were unable to work or had to work less because of their time spent aiding their loved one.

“As indicated by real-world data, advanced gastric cancer is associated with productivity loss for both patients and caregivers, significant health care resource utilization, and meaningful reductions in patients’ quality of life. Novel treatment options are needed to reduce the overall burden of this disease,” the authors wrote.
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