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Quality of Life Predicts Lung Cancer Survival

It was the single most important factor, researchers say

TUESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Quality of life is the most important predictor of survival for patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer, U.S. researchers report.

"In the past, we've considered the stage of disease or tumor size along with other empirical data to predict how long a patient will survive, but now we know quality of life is a critical factor in determining survival," lead author Dr. Nicos Nicolaou, an attending physician in the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.

The study of 239 patients found that those with a quality of life score less than the median (66.7) had a 69 percent higher death rate than patients with a score greater than the median.

"We conducted two different statistical analyses including all the usual prognostic factors and, either way, quality of life remained the strongest predictor of overall survival. What's more, if a patient's quality of life increased over time, we saw a corresponding increase in survival," senior author Dr. Benjamin Movsas, chairman of the radiation oncology department at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said in a prepared statement.

The researchers also found that married patients or those with a partner had the highest quality of life scores.

"We found a significantly lower quality of life score for single, divorced and widowed patients, which deserves further study," Nicolaou said.

Overall, the study findings "underscore the importance of helping out patients improve the quality of life where we can in order to help them live longer better."

The study was expected to be presented Tuesday at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting, in Los Angeles.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about non-small cell lung cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Fox Chase Cancer Center, news release, Oct. 30, 2007

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