Socio‐economic deprivation and symptom burden in UK hospice patients with advanced cancer—findings from a longitudinal study

Mari Lloyd‐Williams, Christopher Shiels, Christopher Dowrick, David Kissane

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Socio‐economic deprivation is known to impact on cancer diagnosis, treatment and access to services, but little is known of the impact of socio‐economic deprivation on symptom burden in patients with advanced cancer. Patients with advanced cancer attending hospice day services were recruited into a 24 week longitudinal study. An area‐based index of social deprivation was collected along with depression and symptom burden at baseline, 8, 16 and 24 weeks. Of the 595 patients included, with an age range of 33–89 years and a mean age of 68 years, 67% were female, and 37% were diagnosed with cancer in the last 12 months. Twenty nine percent lived in one of the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods. Patients living in the most socio‐economically deprived areas were significantly likely to report receiving insufficient information regarding their cancer at diagnosis (p = 0.007), greater pain (p = 0.02), moderate to severe depression (p = 0.04) and higher global symptom burden (p = 0.04). This study is the first to report that patients with advanced cancer attending hospice services, living in the most deprived neighbourhoods experience significantly greater symptom burden, notably depression and pain. We recommend using patient outcome measures in order to provide targeted support and thereby reduce the increased symptom burden that socio‐economically disadvantaged patients experience at the end of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2537
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Advanced cancer
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Palliative care
  • Socio‐economic deprivation
  • Symptom burden

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