(HealthDay News) — Preexisting conditions that affect physical function and quality of life are common among older adults with poor-prognosis cancers, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mazie Tsang, MD, from the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues used data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), linked with Medicare claims (1998 to 2016), to identify 2105 older adults (mean age, 76 years) diagnosed with poor-prognosis cancers (cancers with a median survival of 1 year or less). The researchers assessed the prevalence of preexisting geriatric and palliative conditions in this cohort.

The median survival in this cohort was 9.6 months. About 65% of patients had difficulty climbing stairs, 49% had no advance directive, 36% had fallen in the last 2 years, 35% lived alone, and 32% rated their memory as poor.

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In adjusted analyses, functional impairment and falls were highest among adults aged 85 years and older, and women had a higher rate of pain and physical impairment than men.

Race and socioeconomic status predicted difficulty with mobility and instrumental activities of daily living, living alone, and advance directive completion.

“Due to a high prevalence across multiple domains, all older adults with poor prognosis cancers should be assessed for geriatric and palliative care conditions,” the study authors wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry.

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