Importance of Quality of Life in Patients With Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Carlos Camps; Nieves del Pozo; Ana Blasco; Pilar Blasco; Rafael Sirera


Clin Lung Cancer. 2009;10(2):83-90. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The therapeutic options for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are palliative. Therefore, the quality of life in oncology is considered as an endpoint in clinical trials, and several scales have been accepted for its measurement in parallel with other clinical determinations. However, its use in clinical practice is hindered by various obstacles that need to be overcome. In this article we examine the concept of the quality of life in patients with NSCLC, as well as giving an evaluation and interpretation of the results of various clinical trials. We describe the new technological methods used in daily clinical practice to measure the quality of life.


The seriousness of lung cancer derives not only from its high rate of occurrence but also from poor prognosis: 5-year overall survival is ≤ 15%.

For the patient, cancer represents a threat to his existence, to which can be added the uncertainty and a lack of control over the illness, secondary symptoms, lifestyle changes, and various repercussions in social and family circles.[1]

Among the causes that have provoked an interest in the quality of life (QOL) of patients with cancer, and in particular patients with lung cancer, are (1) that many patients do not have curative treatments and are highly symptomatic, (2) the progressive increase in the patient's autonomy over decision-making, and (3) the financial cost of established treatments resulting in small changes to survival rate justifying their inclusion as benefitting the patient's QOL.

We examine the concept of QOL and the methods of measurement and evaluation of QOL in the patient with advanced lung cancer, and make an analysis of recent studies and new strategies for measuring QOL.