LOS ANGELES Healthcare providers have observed it for years -- patients who appear to have a better quality of life while battling their cancer live longer. Now, a prospective, multi-institutional study examining the quality of life of patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung backs that observation. In fact, quality of life is so important, it out-weighs other classic predictors of survival.
In the past, weve consider 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, said Nicos Nicolaou, M.D., an attending physician in the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia and lead author of the abstract.
The study included patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer enrolled in a treatment trial (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 9801 assessing the addition of amifostine to induction chemotherapy followed by concurrent chemoradiation). In addition to quality of life surveys, factors used to predict overall survival, included stage of disease, gender, age, race, marital status, type of tumor, tumor location in the lung, blood oxygen level, and type of treatment.
"Our study shows that what matters most is what patients themselves are telling us about their quality of life", said Benjamin Movsas, M.D., principal investigator of the RTOG study and senior author of the abstract. Movsas is chairman of the Radiation Oncology Department at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Of the 239 patients analyzed, 91 percent completed a pre-treatment quality of life questionnaire. Patients with a quality of life score less than the median (66.7) had a 69% higher rate of death than patients with a quality of life score greater than 66.7 (p=0.002).
We conducted two different statistical analysis including all the usual prognostic factors and eith
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Fox Chase Cancer Center