Loneliness in patients with cancer: the first year after cancer diagnosis

Laura Deckx*, M. van den Akker, M. van Driel, P. Bulens, D. van Abbema, V. Tjan-Heijnen, C. Kenis, E.T. de Jonge, B. Houben, F. Buntinx

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


ObjectivesWe studied the frequency and evolution of social and emotional loneliness in older cancer patients in comparison with younger cancer patients and older people without cancer. We evaluated if changes in common cancer-related and ageing-related problems such as fatigue, cognitive functioning and functional status contributed to the occurrence of loneliness.

MethodsThis study was part of the KLIMOP study (Dutch acronym for project on older cancer patients in Belgium and the Netherlands) and included older (70years) and younger cancer patients (50-69years) and older people without cancer. Data were collected at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Loneliness was measured with the loneliness scale of De Jong-Gierveld. The relationship between loneliness after 1year and changes in fatigue, cognitive functioning and functional status was tested in multivariate logistic regression analyses.

ResultsData were available for 475 participants. At baseline, older cancer patients were less lonely compared with older people without cancer. After 1year, the frequency of emotional loneliness had significantly increased for older cancer patients (26-42%, p

ConclusionLoneliness, in particular emotional loneliness, is a common problem in cancer patients, and its frequency changes considerably over time. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1528
Number of pages8
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • LIFE
  • AGE

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