Outcomes - Quality of Life
Quality of Life (QOL) research examines the impact of cancer on
patients, survivors, and their families. Cancer can greatly affect
quality of life by changing an individual's functional status, psychological
well-being, employment opportunities, sexual functioning, and social
relationships. QOL research also examines coping strategies, social
support systems, disease recurrence or progression, and secondary
cancer diagnosis. The goal of this research is to understand the
physical and psychosocial effects of cancer and to ultimately improve
the quality of life of cancer patients and cancer survivors.
In addition to the studies RRSS investigators are conducting, described below, the Prostate
Cancer Outcomes Study Web site describes the PCOS study funded as an RRSS study. RRSS:
- examine QOL issues for breast, cervical, and prostate cancer
- investigate ethnic differences in QOL among subpopulations of
Asian/Pacific Islander cancer survivors;
- examine the QOL of patients who develop subsequent primary cancers;
- examine employment decisions of cancer survivors and changes
in employment status due to cancer.
Registries Funded to Conduct these Studies
Breast cancer may impose an economic hardship on women because
it causes them to leave their jobs. However, for women who survive
and remain working, this study failed to show a negative effect
on hours worked associated with breast cancer.
In one study population, race was not statistically significantly
associated with unfavorable breast cancer outcomes. However, low
socioeconomic status was associated with late-stage breast cancer
at diagnosis, type of treatment received, and death.
Using pilot data from a QOL study, an RO1 award
was funded, which examined in depth the association between breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent employment.
Self-administered instruments, which can be used relatively inexpensively
in surveys, can assess patient preferences for outcomes associated
with prostate cancer management.