HRQoL changes, mood disorders and satisfaction after treatment in an unselected population of patients with lung cancer

Heidi Berg Rolke, Per Sigvald Bakke, Frode Gallefoss
Clinical Respiratory Journal 2010, 4 (3): 168-75

OBJECTIVES: This study intended to explore the impact of the first treatment modality on health-related quality of life (HRQoL), mood disorders and mastery in an unselected population of patients with primary lung cancer and to judge patient satisfaction with treatment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An unselected group of 479 patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer in Southern Norway (Agder counties) were included prospectively from June 2002 to June 2005, collecting data on histology, treatment options, HRQoL, mood disorders and mastery at baseline as well as satisfaction with treatment, and changes in HRQoL and mood disorders after finishing the first treatment modality.

RESULTS: After finishing the first treatment modality, patients experienced a worsening of nine HRQoL parameters and an improvement in one. Patients in good performance status experienced reduced physical and role function, and if in reduced performance, improved emotional and role function. Patients with mood disorders experienced reduced anxiety and depression, anxious patients experienced reduced neuropathies, and depressed patients experienced improved social functioning and appetite. Half of the patients treated actively were definitely positive to repeat the same treatment again compared with only 15% in the best supportive care group. Surgery was associated with reduced role function and increased dyspnoea, radiation was associated with increased fatigue, and chemotherapy in small cell lung cancer (SCLC), to a larger extent, was associated with alopecia than in non-SCLC (NSCLC).

CONCLUSION: The development of many HRQoL parameters after the first treatment modality in an unselected population of patients with primary lung cancer seemed, at large, well correlated to general disease progression and to well-known treatment side effects. However, reduced role function after lung surgery, and reduced anxiety and depression in patients with mood disorders at baseline might be surprising. Patient satisfaction with treatment was surprisingly good. Several findings in this study may help clinicians to improve their handling of patients with lung cancer.

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