Health-related quality-of-life is an important factor in patient survival
In a nutshell
This study assessed the relationship between cancer survival, quality of life, and specific cancer symptoms among 11 different types of cancer.
Various different factors, in various different cancer types, are known to be predictors of disease outcome. Specific cancer or treatment related symptoms have also been recently identified as being significant in predicting the outlook of cancer. The overall effect of the disease and treatments on a patient's quality of life and activities of daily living have also been known to predict prognosis. This first of a kind study analyzed quality of life and specific cancer symptoms in 11 different cancer sites using a single standardized and previously validated questionnaire (the EORTC QLQ-C30).
Methods & findings
Of the 30 trials included in this analysis, 3 trials assessed a total of 321 breast cancer patients of any type or stage. After accounting for multiple variables, physical functioning, emotional functioning, nausea and vomiting, and global health status were all predictive for survival among breast cancer patients.
Physical functioning, as assessed by the questionnaire, includes the ability to perform various degrees of effort, such as walking or carrying heavy loads, as well as basic functions such as eating, dressing and washing. Emotional functioning includes attributes of depression and mental well-being, such as difficulty sleeping and often feeling worried, tensed or irritable. Often feeling nauseous and vomiting were also found to be predictive of worse cancer outcome. Global health status includes attributes of both functional and emotional well-being, as well as the effect of disease or treatments on family life, social activities and financial situation.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that health-related quality-of-life symptoms are important predictors of survival in breast cancer, and should be taken into consideration when assessing the outlook of the disease.
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