Health-related quality of life in disease-free survivors of surgically treated lung cancer compared with the general population

Ann Surg. 2012 May;255(5):1000-7. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e31824f1e9e.


Objective: We compared the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of disease-free lung cancer survivors with those from the general population.

Background: Although clinical research usually is focused on how to better identify the lung patients most likely to benefit from surgery in terms of survival, few studies have concentrated specifically on HRQOL in disease-free lung cancer survivors compared with that of the general population.

Methods: We enrolled 830 disease-free cancer survivors (median time since diagnosis, 4.11 years) who had a past diagnosis of lung cancer and treated with curative surgery (stage from 0 to III) at either of 2 hospitals between 2001 and 2006, and 1000 subjects without a history of cancer were selected randomly from a representative sample of general Korean population. Subjects filled out a questionnaire that included the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 and the lung cancer module.

Results: There were no clinically meaningful differences between the disease-free lung cancer survivors and general population in terms of any of the functioning subscales and most of the symptoms. However, survivors exhibited clinically meaningful worse dyspnea and financial problems on the EORTC QLQ-C30 subscales and dyspnea, coughing, and pain in chest wall on the EORTC QLQ-LC13 subscales than the general population. There was no clinically significant difference between the survivor groups according to the survival time. Survivors receiving lung resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy had clinically meaningful worse dyspnea than survivors receiving only lung resection. Lung cancer survivors with a respiratory or cardiologic comorbidity showed clinically meaningful worse social functioning, fatigue, dyspnea, and financial problems.

Conclusions: These findings afford useful information clinicians preparing patients for lung cancer treatment by providing them with an understanding of the potential outcomes, and also for potential intervention targeting supportive care needs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors