Quality of Life Key Measure in Breast Cancer Clinical
FRIDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Making decisions about breast
cancer treatment based on measures of a patient's general
well-being, stress level and ability to enjoy normal life
activities is most effective in clinical trials in which quality of
life is the primary outcome, a new Canadian study shows.
Researchers from Laval University in Quebec, Canada reviewed 190
clinical trials of breast cancer treatments and found that quality
of life (QOL) measures were most useful for clinical decisions in
trials that used non-biomedical interventions such as group
QOL measures should also be included in clinical trials of
metastatic breast cancer treatments when a minimal survival
difference is expected or when treatments have substantial
differences in toxicity, the researchers said.
In a news release, the researchers said that when quality of
life is not the primary endpoint of a clinical trial, "QOL results
should ideally appear in a companion article published at the same
time as the traditional medical outcomes article so that a full
view of the risks and benefits of the intervention can be presented
at the same time to clinicians."
The researchers noted that both the World Health Organization
and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stress the importance of
patients' quality of life, but that clinical trials sometimes don't
include that measure due to the cost of collecting the data.
In an accompanying editorial quoted in the journal news release,
Dr. Patricia Ganz of the University of California at Los Angeles
commented that the increase in studies considering quality of life
"reflects the increased acceptance of the patients' voice in
assessing the outcome of [breast cancer treatment] trials."
The study appears online in the Jan. 7 issue of the
Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Breastcancer.org outlines day-to-day matters that can affect
cancer patients' quality of life.
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