WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For gynecologic oncology patients, unmet social needs are associated with distress and treatment interruption, according to a study published online July 12 in Cancer.

Natsai C. Nyakudarika, M.D., from Olive View-University of California-Los Angeles Medical Center in Sylmar, and colleagues conducted a prospective, survey-based cohort study of patients who participated in a performance-improvement initiative offering assessment of social needs and screening for distress. The correlations among social needs, distress, and treatment outcomes were examined in a largely immigrant gynecologic oncology patient population of 135 women.

The researchers found that 65.2 percent of the women had at least one unmet social need and 36.3 percent screened positive for distress. The most frequently reported need was help reading hospital materials (30.4 percent). There were associations observed for social isolation and lack of safety at home with distress (odds ratios, 3.65 and 4.90, respectively). Perceived lack of finances for medical care and lack of transportation correlated with non-adherance-related treatment interruption (odds ratios, 5.69 and 20.5, respectively), while interruption because of comorbidities or treatment-related toxicities was seen in association with positive distress scores (odds ratio, 20.5).

“In the future, we plan to demonstrate the utility and cost effectiveness of identified social need intervention algorithms not only for improving quality of life and health outcomes, but also for reducing health care disparities,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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