Age-related vulnerabilities of older adults with colon adenomas: evidence from Project Prevent.
BACKGROUND: This report addresses the interface between cancer and aging in the context of colorectal carcinoma (CRC), the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. overall and the first leading cause among individuals age > or = 75 years. Because polyp risk increases with age, interventions to prevent recurrent polyps among older adults likely would reduce CRC morbidity and mortality. METHODS: Data for this study derive from Project Prevent, a multisite, randomized controlled trial designed to reduce behavioral risk factors for CRC among 1247 adults who underwent the removal of > or = 1 adenomatous colon polyps. Middle-aged and older patients were compared on key cognitive-behavioral mechanisms associated with CRC risk and established age-related factors associated with adverse health outcomes. Relations between cognitive-behavioral mechanisms and age-related vulnerability factors identified subgroups of older polyp patients that may have an enhanced risk for CRC. RESULTS: Compared with middle-aged patients, older patients were less concerned about developing CRC, less motivated to reduce their risk, and less confident that their behavior change efforts would succeed. As expected, they also reported more age-related physical, social, and economic vulnerabilities, as expected. Evidence for enhanced CRC risk was found for older patients with multiple comorbid conditions, low social support for change, and perceptions of income inadequacy. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of age-related vulnerability factors may enhance the risk of CRC among older cancer patients by creating barriers to behavioral change. Efforts to reduce the cancer burden in older populations will require attention beyond early detection and surveillance to interventions that account for the unique physical and psychosocial characteristics of older adults.
Clipp, EC; Carver, EH; Pollak, KI; Puleo, E; Emmons, KM; Onken, J; Farraye, FA; McBride, CM
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