Social needs and health-related quality of life among hematologic cancer survivors

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Objectives: Recent studies have examined social needs (social determinants of health) among cancer survivors, but studies have not specifically focused on patients with leukemia or lymphoma. We examined food insecurity and other social needs among hematologic cancer survivors, including individuals who had completed primary therapy for leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma. A particular focus of the study was on the relationship between social needs and health-related quality of life. Methods: We conducted a postal survey of a multiethnic cohort of hematologic cancer survivors who reside in Augusta, GA, or the surrounding area and who had been treated at the Georgia Cancer Center. Results: A total of 53 patients with a history of hematologic cancer (leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma) completed the survey (10.6% response rate). The mean age was 62.6 years. The participants were diverse according to annual household income and employment status. About two-thirds were white and almost one-third were African American. Five of 52 participants (9.6%) experienced food insecurity. Patients with food insecurity had poorer HRQOL compared with those who were food secure (63.3 vs. 87.33, p = 0.0308). A similar pattern was seen for those who had difficulty paying utility bills, those who had housing insecurity, and those who had to go without health care because of a lack of transportation. Overall, there was a statistically significant inverse association between HRQOL and number of social needs (p = 0.004). Conclusion: When caring for cancer survivors, social needs such as food insecurity and housing insecurity are important considerations for oncologists and primary care providers, especially when caring for patients with lower socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8919-8925
Number of pages7
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Cancer survivors
  • Food insecurity
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Social needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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