[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Although many cross-sectional studies have demonstrated the association between cancer pain and psychospiritual distress, the time-dependent relationship has not been fully explored. For that reason, this study aims to investigate the time-dependent relationship between psychospiritual distress and cancer pain management in advanced cancer patients.
This is a prospective observational study. Two hundred thirty-seven advanced cancer patients were recruited from a palliative care unit in Taiwan. Demographic and clinical data were retrieved at admission. Pain and psychospiritual distress (i.e.: anxiety, depression, anger, level of family and social support, fear of death) were assessed upon admission and one week later, by using a "Symptom Reporting Form". Patients were divided into two groups according to the pain status one week post-admission (improved versus not improved groups).
One hundred sixty-three (68.8 %) patients were assigned to the improved group, and 74 (31.2 %) patients were assigned to the not improved group. There were no differences in the psychospiritual variables between groups upon admission. In overall patients, all psychospiritual variables improved one week post-admission, but the improvement of depression and family/social support in the not improved group was not significant. Consistent with this, for depression scores, there was a statistically significant pain group x time interaction effect detected, meaning that the pain group effect on depression scores was dependent on time.
We demonstrated a time-dependent relationship between depression and pain management in advanced cancer patients. Our results suggest that poor pain management may be associated with intractable depression. The inclusion of interventions that effectively improve psychospiritual distress may contribute to pain management strategies for advanced cancer patients.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Palliative Care
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Consciousness is an important factor of survival prediction in advanced cancer patients. However, effects on survival of changes over time in consciousness in advanced cancer patients have not been fully explored. Objective: This study evaluated changes in consciousness after admission to a palliative care unit and their correlation with prognosis in terminal cancer patients. Methods: This is a prospective observational study. From a palliative care unit in Taiwan, 531 cancer patients (51.8% male) were recruited. Consciousness status was assessed at admission and one week afterwards and recorded as normal or impaired. Results: The mean age was 65.28±13.59 years, and the average survival time was 23.41±37.69 days. Patients with normal consciousness at admission (n=317) had better survival than those with impaired consciousness at admission (n=214): (17.0 days versus 6.0 days, p<0.001). In the analysis on survival within one week after admission, those with normal consciousness at admission had a higher percentage of survival than the impaired (78.9% versus 44.3%, p<0.001). Patients were further classified into four groups according to consciousness levels: (1) normal at admission and one week afterwards, (2) impaired at admission but normal one week afterwards, (3) normal at admission but impaired one week afterwards, and (4) impaired both at admission and one week afterwards. The former two groups had significantly better survival than the latter two groups: (median survival counted from day 7 after admission), 25.5, 27.0, 7.0, and 7.0 days, respectively. Conclusion: Consciousness levels one week after admission should be integrated into survival prediction in advanced cancer patients.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Palliative Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context:
The use of antibiotics is a common ethical dilemma in palliative care, thus identifying the concerns of patients with terminal cancer and respecting their wishes are important in making an ethically justified decision.
The aim of this study was to understand wishes of patients with terminal cancer and determine influencing factors toward the use of antibiotics.
Two hundred and one patients with terminal cancer, admitted to a palliative care unit in Taiwan, completed a structured questionnaire interview, including demographic characteristics, knowledge and attitudes on antibiotics, the health locus of control, subjective norms, and the wishes to use antibiotics.
The most common misconception was "Antibiotics use is helpful to all terminal patients with infection," which only 13.4% respondents disagreed. Of the 201patients, 92 (45.8%) expressed their wishes to use antibiotics even in the very terminal stage, and around one-fourth (26.4%) of patients wished not to use antibiotics, the remaining 27.8% were unclear. The most influential persons were medical professionals. The results of logistic regression analysis that showed familiarity with antibiotics, subjective norms, and the attitude toward burdens of antibiotics were the most significant predicting variables for those wishing to use antibiotics (odds ratio [OR] = 4.133, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.012-16.880; OR = 1.890, 95% CI = 1.077-3.317; and OR = 1.255, 95% CI = 1.047-1.503).
This study indicated the responsibility of medical professionals to convey burdens of using antibiotics to patients and family. Otherwise, by enhancing professional training and performing effective communication with patients, we can reach a more appropriate decision in the use of antibiotics.
No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · The American journal of hospice & palliative care
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
Limited data exist regarding metabolic risk factors for deaths from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in aging individuals. We investigated the association between diabetes, dyslipidemia, and HCC mortality in those aged 40 years or more (middle-aged and elderly). In this prospective cohort study based on nationwide health screening units, we consecutively followed middle-aged and elderly participants who had no chronic hepatitis B or C virus infection and received health screening from January 1 1998 to December 31 2008. There were 235 deaths from HCC among 50,080 individuals, ascertained by validated death certificates and the national death registry. Diabetes (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 3.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.35 to 4.86) was positively associated with deaths from HCC. However, hypertriglyceridemia (HR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.55) and hypercholesterolemia (HR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.67) were inversely associated with HCC mortality. The above significant associations remained in the lag time analyses, applied to check for reverse causation. Metabolic syndrome, as defined by the American Heart Association / National Heart Lung Blood Institute criteria (HR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.46 to 0.86) or by the International Diabetes Federation criteria (HR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.89), was inversely associated with deaths from HCC, especially in men.
Middle-aged and elderly individuals, once having diabetes, deserve HCC surveillance to reduce HCC mortality. More research is needed to elucidate why having baseline dyslipidemia relates to lower future HCC mortality.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aimed to investigate the association between serum adiponectin and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
We conducted a campus-based cross-sectional study in Northern Taiwan, an HBV-endemic country. A total of 506 participants, including 147 chronic HBV-infected individuals and 359 healthy controls, were assessed for anthropometric indices, serum adiponectin levels, serum HBV viral load and markers, serum alanine aminotransferase levels and metabolic factors.
Older age, male gender, higher alanine aminotransferase, higher body mass index, greater waist circumference, lower fasting glucose, higher triglycerides, and higher adiponectin were associated with chronic HBV infection in univariate analyses. In multivariate analysis, the presence of chronic HBV infection was positively associated with serum adiponectin levels (P < 0.0001) and high adiponectin levels over the 75th percentile (odds ratio, 4.25; 95% confidence interval, 2.36-7.66; P < 0.0001) after adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, and insulin resistance index. Furthermore, serum adiponectin levels were positively associated with HBV viral load in overweight to obese HBV-infected subjects (P = 0.018).
Although chronic HBV-infected individuals were heavier than healthy controls, they had significantly higher serum adiponectin levels than healthy counterparts. Additionally, adiponectin levels were positively associated with HBV viral load in overweight to obese HBV-infected subjects. Future research should focus on elucidating adiponectin pathways, which may contribute to the development of adjuvant treatments for chronic HBV infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
Community physicians have a vital role in delivering palliative care, yet their willingness and factors that influence its provision have rarely been explored. Our aims were to identify the willingness of community physicians to provide palliative care for patients with terminal cancer and to investigate the factors that influence their willingness to provide such care.
Through a structured questionnaire, this nationwide study surveyed 708 community physicians who were potential pilots to provide palliative care. Four hundred and ten valid questionnaires (58.0%) were retrieved and analysed.
The majority of respondents expressed a willingness (92.4%) to provide palliative care if they encountered patients with terminal cancer. However, they would limit their services to consultation (83.4%) and referral (86.8%), and were less likely to see patients and prescribe medicine (62.0%), to provide phone follow-ups (45.6%), to provide home visits (42.2%) or to offer bereavement care for the family (35.1%). The results of stepwise logistic regression analysis for the willingness to provide home visits showed that 'less perception of barriers', 'family medicine specialist' and 'older than 50 years' significantly predicted higher willingness, while 'female' predicted lower willingness. There was no significant association between the willingness and the knowledge score.
Community physicians' beliefs and experience in palliative care rather than their knowledge influence their willingness to provide palliative care for patients with terminal cancer. Only through active participation in the real-world clinical setting and active health policy administration can community physicians overcome obstacles to providing palliative care.
Preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study aims to investigate the effect of increased serum adiponectin concentration during smoking cessation on soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) concentration.
One hundred and sixty-six eligible smokers were assessed at baseline and were followed up at the 1st, 5th, and 9th weeks after smoking cessation. Demographic data, body weight and blood pressure of these participants were obtained; serum glucose biochemical data, sICAM-1 and adiponectin concentrations were measured. Repeated measures analysis paired t-tests and generalized estimating equations for balanced repeated measures were used for statistical analyses.
Forty-one individuals completed the 2-month smoking cessation program. The mean cigarette consumption dramatically decreased (p<0.0001) and the cotinine concentration also decreased significantly (p<0.0001) among the quitters. Serum adiponectin concentration significantly increased (p=0.0186) and sICAM-1 significantly decreased (p<0.0001) in quitters after smoking cessation. The elevation of serum adiponectin concentration significantly correlated with lowering of sICAM-1 (p=0.0001) concentration. Body weight changes at the end of 2-month smoking cessation was inversely correlated with adiponectin increment from baseline (p=0.0003).
An increase in serum adiponectin concentration is an independent factor correlated with lowering of sICAM-1 concentration during smoking cessation.
No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fatigue is a multidimensional phenomenon that has different meanings according to different societal and cultural settings. This study aims to decipher fatigue in Taiwanese patients with cancer.
We recruited 440 patients with advanced cancer admitted consecutively to the palliative care unit of a major medical center in Taiwan. The data were collected at admission, 1 and 2 weeks after admission, and 2 days before death.
The subject group consisted of 51.8% males and 48.2% females with a median age of 67 years (ranging from 27 to 93 years). The leading primary tumor sites among these patients were lung (20.2%), liver (18.0%), and colon-rectum (10.7%), and the median survival was 15 days, with a range of 1 to 418 days. All symptoms improved 1 week after admission, but most of them significantly worsened 2 days before death. In general, the physical signs manifested variation patterns similar to those of symptoms. The severity of psychosocial distress and death fear was lower after admission and retained the same level at 2 days before death, defying the consistent patterns found in other symptoms and signs. In the correlation analysis, most symptoms were correlated with fatigue during admission, with weakness being the most significant one. Although self-efficacy and emotion were correlated with fatigue both on admission and 1 week after admission, social support and death fear were not correlated with fatigue at all times.
The meaning of fatigue is mainly associated with physical factors among these patients. Education of complexities in fatigue in tandem with psychosocial and spiritual care may help alleviate this symptom, and promote quality of life.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · Journal of palliative medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating adiponectin levels in cigarette smokers are lower than those in nonsmokers. We have previously shown that adiponectin is expressed in human monocytes. The aim of this study was to further investigate the effect of smoking on adiponectin expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
A group of 77 cigarette smokers and 51 nonsmokers were consecutively enrolled in this study. The participants' body weight, blood pressure, and metabolic parameters, including plasma glucose and plasma adiponectin levels, were recorded. The RNA from the PBMCs was assessed with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to determine the levels of adiponectin mRNA.
Of the 77 smokers, 67 (87.0%) were male. Their mean (standard deviation) age was 43.17 (11.47) years, and they smoked 24.56 (12.53) cigarettes/day. The duration of smoking was 23.73 (11.69) years. Both circulating adiponectin levels (p=0.0262) and adiponectin mRNA levels in PBMCs (p<0.0001) of smokers were significantly lower than those in nonsmokers. Both circulating adiponectin levels and adiponectin mRNA levels were negatively correlated with the number of cigarettes smoked per day (p<0.01). In multiple linear regression analysis, smoking was an independent factor affecting adiponectin mRNA expression in PBMCs (p<0.0001).
Circulating adiponectin levels and adiponectin expression in PBMCs were lower in smokers; this finding suggested that attenuation of both systemic and local actions of adiponectin might contribute to the atherosclerotic process in cigarette smokers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A nationwide study was undertaken to investigate participation in advance care planning (ACP) by cancer care professionals following the enactment of the Natural Death Act in Taiwan in 2000. This multi-center study surveyed 600 physicians and nurses working in oncology care wards or palliative care units using a structured mailed questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis revealed that working in a hospice, attitudes about the Natural Death Act and knowledge about the Natural Death Act were three independent factors that positively influenced the participation in ACP. The results demonstrate that the enactment of the Natural Death Act in Taiwan contributes to promoting the participation in ACP. Educating cancer care professionals about practicing palliative care and building positive attitudes toward the Act should be strongly encouraged.
No preview · Article · Mar 2010 · Social Science [?] Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Family physicians in Taiwan have expressed low willingness to provide palliative home care.
To explore the medical needs of terminal cancer patients in home care and thus clarify the role and tasks of family physicians in providing palliative home care.
Seventy-seven terminal cancer patients discharged from a palliative care unit from July 2003 to July 2004 who had received family physician home visits were enrolled. A structured assessment form was applied to each visit.
Under the collaboration by the palliative home care team and family physicians, the average interval from discharge to the first physician visit was 20.3 days and the average interval between physician visits was 37.9 days. The patients had an average of 5.9 active medical problems: the most frequent problem was pain (58.4%), followed by anorexia (42.9%) and constipation (42.9%). Forty-four patients (58.7%) died at home, while 31 patients (41.3%) eventually died in the hospital. Through multiple logistic regression analysis, patients who had never been rehospitalized [odds ratio (OR) = 12.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.41-49.19], who preferred to die at home (OR = 4.68, 95% CI = 1.21-18.09) and who were most functionally dependent with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale = 4 (OR = 4.36, 95% CI = 1.02-18.64) were found to be most likely to die at home under this care model.
Through palliative home care with the participation of family physicians, patients' preference could be a significant determinant of home death. Our finding can be helpful to the establishment of an ethical care model for terminal cancer patients.