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Alcohol and drug use disorders in patients with cancer and caregivers: effects on caregiver burden
  1. Kath Webber,
  2. Andrew Neil Davies,
  3. Charlotte Leach and
  4. Anna Bradley
  1. Supportive and Palliative Care, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford, Surrey, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kath Webber, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford GU1 2HP, UK; kwebber1{at}nhs.net

Abstract

Background The estimated prevalence of alcohol use disorders in patients with advanced cancer is reported as 4%–38%. There are limited data regarding alcohol and drug use disorders in caregivers of patients with cancer and the effects on other issues.

Aim To establish the prevalence of alcohol and drug use disorders in a large cohort of patients with advanced cancer and their caregivers.

To evaluate the relationship between alcohol and drug use disorders and patient symptoms and caregiver burden.

Design The patient with cancer and caregiver completed the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tool, CAGE questionnaire and Drug Abuse Screening Test. The patient completed the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale–Short Form, and the caregiver completed the Zarit Burden Questionnaire.

Statistical analysis compared cases and non-cases of alcohol and drug use disorders with symptom and burden score.

Setting/participants Patients with cancer, and their caregivers, were recruited from 11 UK sites, 6 hospices and 5 hospitals.

Results Five hundred and seven patients and their caregivers were recruited. Twenty-seven patients (5%) and 44 caregivers (9%) screened positively for alcohol use disorders on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tool. Thirty patients (6%), and 16 caregivers (3%), screened positively for drug abuse problems on the Drug Abuse Screening Test.

There was a significantly higher carer burden score in caregivers screening positively for alcohol and drug abuse problems.

Conclusions The prevalence of alcohol use disorders in patients with cancer and caregivers was lower than reported in previous studies. Caregiver burden scores were significantly higher in carers screening positively for alcohol and drug use disorders.

Trial registration number Trial registered National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Portfolio (CPMS ID 30723) IRAS ID 198753.

  • cancer
  • clinical assessment
  • ethics
  • drug administration
  • chronic conditions
  • communication
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Footnotes

  • Contributors Each author made a considerable contribution to the study and meet the full requirements for authorship. KW was guarantor responsible for overall content and was study Chief Investigator. She takes responsibility for planning, conduct and reporting of work. AND was involved in planning of work, data analysis and reporting. CL and AB were involved in conduct of work and reporting of data.

  • Funding This study was funded by Alcohol Change UK and supported by the National Institute of Health Research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study received approval from the South East Coast–Surrey Research Ethics Committee on 5 April 2016 (IRAS 198753/REC 16/LO/0631).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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