Financial and socio-economic factors influencing pre- and post-cancer therapy oral care.

TitleFinancial and socio-economic factors influencing pre- and post-cancer therapy oral care.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSmith, DK, Castellanos, EH, Murphy, BA
JournalSupport Care Cancer
ISSN Number1433-7339
KeywordsCancer screenings, Dental Care, Finances, Health Conditions and Status, Socioeconomic factors

PURPOSE: The primary objective of this study is to evaluate how attendance at dental visits may change as cancer patients move through pre-diagnosis, diagnosis, and into survivorship.

METHODS: The Health and Retirement Study consists of longitudinal survey data collected biannually detailing financial and health information in subjects over 51 years old. We assessed a subset of 4195 patients who received a new cancer diagnosis during the study period. The odds of reporting a dental visit were examined using a mixed effects logistic regression model. A propensity score weighted analysis of the association between dental attendance and survival was also undertaken.

RESULTS: The odds of attending a dental visit were substantially lower in the peri-diagnosis period OR = 0.784 (0.700, 0.876) and the post-diagnosis period OR = 0.734 (0.655, 0.823) compared to pre-diagnosis. This effect persisted in patients who survived for at least 2 years indicating that the decline in oral health visits was not due to low expected survival. After propensity score weighting, patients who attended a dental visit in the peri-diagnosis period demonstrated a reduced hazard of all-cause mortality HR = 0.825 (0.681, 0.979) compared with those with no attendance.

CONCLUSIONS: Dental attendance decreases by a statistically and clinically significant amount both during and after cancer therapy despite guideline recommendations encouraging dental referral and monitoring for many types of cancer therapy. Attendance at dental appointments during cancer therapy is associated with improved survival, which is likely due to a combination of direct and indirect effects.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalSupport Care Cancer
Citation Key9483
PubMed ID29372394