Influence of pain and quality of life on desire for hastened death in patients with advanced cancer

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2004 Oct;10(10):476-83. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2004.10.10.16211.


Objective: to assess the relationship between quality of life, pain and desire for hastened death in advanced cancer patients.

Methods: 120 Greek patients with advanced cancer were interviewed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 version 3.0 (EORTC QLQ-C30), the Greek Brief Pain Inventory (G-BPI), the Greek Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (G-HADS) and the Greek Schedule of Attitudes toward Hastened Death (G-SAHD).

Results: statistically significant associations were found between total G-SAHD scores and scores for the worst level of pain in the previous 24 hours (G-BP13) (r = 0.279, P = 0.002), and between total G-SAHD scores and scores for the level of pain relief obtained in the last 24 hours (G-BP18) (r = -0.326, P = 0.0005). The strongest correlations were found between G-SADH and emotional functioning (r = 0.569, P<0.0001) and global quality of life (r = -0.331, P<0.0001) from EORTC QLQ-C30. In multivariate analyses, emotional functioning, social functioning, financial impact, and the interference of pain in general activity and mood were significant predictors of G-SAHD (all P<0.0001).

Conclusion: quality of life and pain appeared to have a statistically significant relationship with desire for hastened death. Adequate palliative care should alleviate pain and the desire for hastened death, improving quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Death*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Quality of Life*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors