PhD conferral Ms drs. Marjolein W.M. van der Poel
Supervisors: prof.dr. H. Schouten, prof.dr. L.V. van den Poll-Franse
Keywords: haematology, treatment decisions, quality of life, elderly patients, lymphatic cancer
“Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma in elderly patients; treatment-decision making and health-related quality of life”
This dissertation examines how haematologists make treatment decisions for elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL or lymphatic cancer) and how comorbidities influence these treatment decisions. It also examines quality of life for elderly patients with DLBCL and multiple myeloma (MM or plasma cell cancer).The results reveal that comorbidities and age play a significant role in treatment decisions, such as offering treatments that aim to cure DLBCL.This dissertation also examined quality of life among DLBCL patients and found that DLBCL has a bigger impact on quality of life in younger patients than in older patients. The same is true of MM patients as well: quality of life was significantly reduced in younger patients compared to older patients.The conclusion is that a fear of worsening quality of life is no excuse to refrain from potentially curative treatment in elderly patients with DLBCL. Such a treatment must always be considered, regardless of age. A second conclusion is that the disease burden of MM is high for both young and elderly patients and that, in addition to prolonging life, improving quality of life should also be an important treatment objective.