Older oncology patients with a more negative self-perception of ageing (SPA) are 3.62 times more likely to die than those with a more positive SPA, suggests a study published in the journal Cancer Medicine .
Over 140 patients age ≥65 years with a recent diagnosis of nonmetastatic breast, lung, gynaecological, or haematological cancer were enrolled between January 2013 and December 2017 (1-6 year follow-up). On a 24-items questionnaire, participants responded on a 5‐point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree/not at all true) to 5 (strongly agree/extremely true). The total score ranged from 24 to 120. Higher total scores reflect more positive SPA.
Most patients were women (85.7%) and most had a low level of education (79.3%). SPA scores ranged from 45 to 114 (median 87). Of 45 subjects who died, 33 had a negative SPA. Median survival time for those with a negative SPA was 1,330 days, whereas mean survival was not reached for those with a positive SPA. Thus a significant difference in survival rates was seen between the positive and negative SPA groups (P=.21)
There is a need to change our attitude towards ageing, in the hope that it can be seen as a period of life and not focused on health issues and loneliness.