Comparative pilot study of symptoms and quality of life in cancer patients and patients with end stage renal disease

Palliat Med. 2006 Sep;20(6):631-6. doi: 10.1177/0269216306070236.


Background: Patients with advanced renal failure are increasingly opting for conservative treatment, yet little is known of their palliative care needs.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study, examining symptom burden and quality of life in patients with advanced renal failure (estimated GFR < 17 mL/min; n = 11). A contemporary cohort with terminal malignancy acted as comparators (n = 11). Symptom burden was scored using an extended Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale Short Form questionnaire. Quality of life was assessed using the Euroqol-5Q questionnaire. Demographic and pathological data, performance status and co-morbidity were also recorded.

Results: Baseline characteristics were similar for the two groups. Symptom burden (renal 17; cancer 15; P =NS) and quality of life scores (renal 60; cancer 60; P =NS) were remarkably similar. Both groups reported high levels of psychological distress.

Conclusions: Patients with advanced renal failure experience a symptom burden and impairment of quality of life similar to that of patients with terminal malignancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Terminally Ill* / psychology