Impaired quality of life in patients commencing radiotherapy for cancer

Strahlenther Onkol. 2004 Feb;180(2):78-83. doi: 10.1007/s00066-004-1160-2.


Background: This study tested a three-item questionnaire to measure global quality of life (QOL) and pain in patients commencing radiotherapy, based on items from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 instrument.

Patients and methods: In a pretest, the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the three-item short questionnaire were administered to 100 patients, yielding similar global QOL and pain scores. After the pretest, the three-item questionnaire was administered to 1,837 patients prior to first radiotherapy treatment.

Results: 254 (13.8%) patients with impaired QOL were identified. These patients had a mean global QOL score of 32.6 compared to 72.4 (p < 0.001) found in patients with satisfactory QOL. Patients with impaired QOL were also more likely < 60 years and treated for lung, gastrointestinal or head and neck cancer or advanced, metastatic cancer.

Conclusion: This brief questionnaire addresses important aspects of QOL, is feasible to use in a clinical setting and therefore represents a potentially useful tool for detecting those patients who may benefit from further evaluation and/or psychosocial support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Pain Measurement* / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Care Team
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Radiotherapy / psychology*
  • Reference Values
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sick Role*
  • Sickness Impact Profile