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.