Quality of Life of Caregivers to Those Living with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

November 2017 Vol 8, No 11

Background: Research has consistently found that caregivers for people with cancer report distress; however, it is not clear whether recent improvements in the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) have reduced caregiver burden.

Objectives: In this study, the responses of caregivers with CML are compared with others, defined as those who care for people with other types of cancer (eg, breast cancer, lymphoma) and noncancer conditions (eg, Alzheimer’s) and noncaregivers, on a measure assessing function.

Methods: This study used data from 3 administrations (2012, 2013, 2015; n = 243,500) of the United States National Health and Wellness Survey, an Internet-based survey administered to a demographically representative sample of the US adult (≥18 years) population. Unique participants who supplied socioeconomic status, medical history, CML caregiver status, a comorbidity measure (Charlson Comorbidity Index), and behavioral data were included. All participants also responded to the Mental Component Scale (MCS), Physical Component Scale (PCS), and Short Form 6 Dimensions (SF-6D) of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey, version 2. The minimally important difference (MID) is 3 points for the MCS and PCS, and 0.03 points for the SF-6D. Propensity score weights for caregivers of patients with CML (n = 49) and a second group (control group [CG]) composed of noncancer caregivers (n = 11,653), non-CML cancer caregivers (n = 2654), and noncaregivers (n = 182,246) were derived using the Toolkit for Weighting and Analysis of Nonequivalent Groups. Separate generalized linear models (GLMs) using a normal distribution with identity link functions were used for all the analyses.

Results: The GLM analyses found that the CML caregiver group demonstrated significantly worse functioning (P <.0001) across all outcomes. Further, the adjusted means between the 2 groups exceeded the MID for the MCS and SF-6D. The adjusted MCS mean was 39.74 (95% CI, 36.67-39.81) for the CML caregiver group and 46.39 (95% CI, 46.32-46.46) for the CG. The adjusted PCS mean was 47.07 (95% CI, 47.02-47.13) for the CML group and 49.79 (95% CI, 49.73-49.85) for the CG. Finally, the adjusted SF-6D mean was 0.62 (95% CI, 0.62-0.63) for the CML caregiver group and 0.71 (95% CI, 0.70-0.71) for the CG.

Conclusions: Analyses affirm that caregiving for those with CML is associated with poor self-reported health outcomes. These caregivers are reporting significantly greater distress than the control population despite recent improvements in treatment.

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Last modified: August 10, 2023

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