Background: Demographic and contextual factors are associated with quality of life (QoL) in older adults and prediagnosis QoL among older adults has important implications for supportive care in older cancer patients. Objective: To examine whether lower educational attainment is associated with poorer QoL among community dwelling older adults just before their diagnosis of lung cancer in a nationally representative sample. Design: This study used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare Health Outcomes Survey (MHOS) dataset, which provides cancer registry data linked with survey data for Medicare Advantage enrollees. Subjects: Adults 65 years and older at time of diagnosis with first or only primary lung cancer and with at least one survey before their cancer diagnosis. Measurements: Level of education attained was categorized as less than high school (<HS) or at least a high school diploma (≥HS). QoL was calculated based on individual subscale scores from the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) until 2006 (Veteran's RAND 12-Item Survey [VR-12] after 2006). Demographic covariates as well as number of comorbidities were adjusted for in multivariable models. Results: Higher education was positively associated with prediagnosis mental and physical QoL. Other factors associated with lower QoL were Medicaid status and number of comorbidities. Conclusions: Particular attention should focus on identifying and addressing QoL needs among vulnerable older adults to bolster QoL to mitigate its potential impact on prognosis following a lung cancer diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-505
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Palliative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • educational attainment
  • lung cancer
  • quality of life
  • vulnerable populations


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