(HealthDay News) — Among women with metastatic cancer and dependent children, parenting concerns negatively impact health-related quality of life (HRQOL), according to a study published online in Cancer.

Eliza M. Park, MD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues surveyed 224 women regarding psychosocial concerns. The participants had a stage IV solid tumor cancer and at least one child aged <18 years.

The researchers found that the mean Emotional Well-Being subscale scores of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) questionnaire were particularly low. Parenting variables explained nearly 40 percent of the HRQOL model variance. FACT-G scores decreased by 4 points for each 1-point increase in parenting concern severity (P=0.003).

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“There are tens of thousands of parents in the United States living with advanced cancer, and improving their health-related quality of life is critical to patient-centered care for these individuals,” Park said in a statement. “Across demographic groups, the overwhelming majority of parents of minor children identify their parental status as central to their identity. Our findings demonstrate that the parenting role is powerfully intertwined with the patient experience.”

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Park EM, Deal AM, Yopp JM, et al. Understanding health‐related quality of life in adult women with metastatic cancer who have dependent children. Canc. DOI:10.1002/cncr.31330