Health literacy and quality of life among a population-based sample of cancer patients
Monday, November 4, 2013
: 8:45 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Quality of life (QoL) has emerged as a key outcome in cancer care. Research indicates that health literacy (HL) may influence cancer patients' QoL. This study examined the relation between HL and QoL among cancer patients in Wisconsin. A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among cancer patients in Wisconsin during 2006-2007. Data on sociodemographics, residential location, clinical characteristics, QoL (FACT-G) and HL (composite score from 4 screening questions) were obtained from the state's cancer registry and a mailed questionnaire. Multivariable linear regression was used to characterize the association between QoL and HL. The study sample included 1,841 cancer patients (Response rate=67.7%). The mean QoL score (88.5, SD=15.3) was above the normative QoL average for the general U.S. adult population with (80.9, SD=17) and without (80.1, SD=18.1) cancer. After adjusting for potential confounders, higher HL was a predictor of greater quality of life (p<.0001). Associations between greater QoL and urban residence (p=0.02), older age (p=<.0001), advanced cancer stage (p=0.001), and lower household income (<$5,000/year, p=<.0001; $15-29,000/year, p=<.0001) were also found. HL is an important determinant of QoL among cancer patients. Patients with lower levels of HL tend to have lower levels of QoL even after adjustment for other sociodemographic and clinical factors. These findings support adoption of universal HL best practices by cancer care systems. Additional research should be conducted to elucidate the causal pathways between low HL levels and poorer QoL and to test whether health literacy interventions can improve QoL after cancer diagnosis.
Communication and informatics
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences
Analyze the relation between quality of life and health literacy among cancer patients.
Identify characteristics associated with cancer patients’ quality of life.
Keyword(s): Cancer, Health Literacy
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted mixed methods research in the areas of cancer communication and health literacy, cancer patient quality of life, and patient navigation. I hold advanced degrees in Population Health Sciences and Health Communication. My interests include translating research into practice to improve quality of care and to address health inequities experienced by cancer patients.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.