Quality of life in lung cancer patients: does socioeconomic status matter?

Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2003 Jun 9;1:19. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-1-19.


Background: As part of a prospective study on quality of life in newly diagnosed lung cancer patients an investigation was carried out to examine whether there were differences among patients' quality of life scores and their socioeconomic status.

Methods: Quality of life was measured at two points in time (baseline and three months after initial treatment) using three standard instruments; the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), the European Organization for Research and Cancer Treatment Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its lung cancer supplement (QLQ-LC13). Socioeconomic status for each individual patient was derived using Carstairs and Morris Deprivation Category ranging from 1 (least deprived) to 7 (most deprived) on the basis of the postcode sector of their address.

Results: In all, 129 lung cancer patients entered into the study. Of these data for 82 patients were complete (at baseline and follow-up). 57% of patients were of lower socioeconomic status and they had more health problems, less functioning, and more symptoms as compared to affluent patients. Of these, physical mobility (P = 0.05), energy (P = 0.01), role functioning (P = 0.04), physical functioning (P = 0.03), and breathlessness (P = 0.02) were significant at baseline. However, at follow-up assessment there was no significant difference between patient groups nor did any consistent pattern emerge.

Conclusion: At baseline assessment patients of lower socioeconomic status showed lower health related quality of life. Since there was no clear trend at follow-up assessment this suggests that patients from different socioeconomic status responded to treatment similarly. In general, the findings suggest that quality of life is not only the outcome of the disease and its treatment, but is also highly dependent on each patients' socioeconomic characteristics.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / economics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Social Class*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires