1470P - Family caregiver burden: results of a Moroccan prospective study of cancer in the elderly and their caregivers

Date 01 October 2012
Event ESMO Congress 2012
Session Poster presentation III
Topics Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Geriatric Oncology
Presenter Sihame Lkhoyaali
Authors S. Lkhoyaali1, M. Ait El Haj2, S. Raissouni3, G. Rais4, H. Mrabti5, H. Errihani6
  • 1Medical Oncology, National institut of oncology, 10000 - Rabat/MA
  • 2National Institute Of Oncology, INO, 10000 - rabat/MA
  • 3Institut National d'Oncologie Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, 10000 - Rabat/MA
  • 4Medical Oncology, natiolnal institute of oncology, 10000 - rabat/MA
  • 5Medical Oncology, Institut National d'OncologieSidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, MA-10000 - Rabat/MA
  • 6Institut National d'OncologieSidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, MA-10000 - Rabat/MA



The support of older patients affected with cancer by their natural caregivers is not a simple task. It could be a painful experience with a major emotional, physical and economic impact on relatives. Usually family members do that task and they may not be prepared for the challenges. The needs of older patients are diverse and may include assistance with medication, transportation for treatment, and emotional support.


This is a prospective descriptive study, conducted in the National Institute of Oncology in Rabat during a ten month period from December 2010 to September 2011.We included relatives of patients aged 70 or older with histologically proven cancer and also their relatives. A questionnaire was given to participants. For all participants, demographics, disease characteristics, social, economical and psychological features were recorded. Psychological impact was assessed using DSM-IV.


A total of 150 patients' relative caregivers responded to the questionnaire. Mean age was 44.7 years old. More than two thirds live in urban areas and educated in 62.7%. They were 56.7% sons or daughters, living with their relatives in 54% of cases. Most of participants were married and have familial responsibilities. In relatives, anxiety was found in 79.3%. It was related to fear of losing the patient in 57% and led to the use of anxiolytics in 10%. Guilty feelings toward patients regarding neglecting early symptoms was reported in 38% of the relatives. Depression and anxiety were more frequent among female relatives and in those of urban origin. Obsession with dying from cancer was present in about 30% and fear of contagion was more common among those from rural backgrounds and the illiterate. Economic resources were exceeded in 78.7%, and 56% have used credit, sale of properties and work lay-off was recorded in 54%. Relatives participated in treatment making decisions in 86%.


Even where there was a great impact on older cancer patients' relatives, the benefits of caregiving was observed in 80% in our study, these included greater self-esteem, personal growth, meaning and purpose in one's life, and gratitude for being able to reciprocate care. Assistance and information from healthcare professionals remains the key to improving the ability of caregivers to cope with caring for older patients with cancer.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.