Undergoing Diagnostic Evaluation for Possible Cancer Affects the Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients Presenting with Non-Specific Symptoms

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

AIM: Undergoing diagnostic evaluation for possible cancer can affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The aims of this study were to examine the HRQoL in patients undergoing a diagnostic evaluation for possible cancer due to non-specific symptoms and further to investigate the impact of socio-demographic and medical factors associated with HRQoL at the time of diagnosis.

METHODS: This was a prospective, multicenter survey study that included patients who were referred for a diagnostic evaluation due to non-specific cancer symptoms. Participants completed the EORTC-QLQ-C30 quality of life scale before and after completing the diagnostic evaluation. The baseline and follow-up EORTC-QLQ-C30 scores were compared with reference populations. The impact of socio-demographic and medical factors on HRQoL at follow-up was explored by bootstrapped multivariate linear regression.

RESULTS: A total of 838 patients participated in the study; 680 (81%) also completed follow-up. Twenty-two percent of the patients received a cancer diagnosis at the end of follow-up. Patients presented initially with a high burden of symptoms, less role and emotional functioning and a lower global health/QoL. Most domains improved after diagnosis and no clinically important difference between baseline and follow-up scores was found. Patients reported effects on HRQoL both at baseline and at follow-up compared with the Danish reference population and had similar scores as a cancer reference population. Co-morbidity, being unemployed and receiving a cancer diagnosis had the greatest effect on HRQoL around the time of diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with non-specific symptoms reported an affected HRQoL while undergoing a diagnostic evaluation for possible cancer. Morbidity, being unemployed and receiving a cancer diagnosis had the greatest effect on HRQoL around the time of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0148463
JournalP L o S One
Volume11
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Adult, Aged, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Quality of Life, Clinical Trial, Journal Article, Multicenter Study, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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