SIde Effects and Quality of Life
When we think about chemotheray, many of us think first about side effects. How badly will I feel? Will I lose my hair? Will I be well enough to continue to work? To a large extent, the answers to these questions are variable, and everyone is different. There are, of course,lists of possible side effects that accompany each drug, and some are worse than others. QOL becomes especially important for women with Stage IV disease who will be on treatment for the rest of their lives. When a woman receives adjuvant chemotherapy for a few months after diagnosis, there is an end point, and a count down--three more times, two more times, etc. For a woman with advanced cancer, that is not true, and it is about learning how to live, as well as possible, with endless treatment. Fortunately, our doctors know this and do pay a lot of attention to QOL issues for people in this situation. Here is an interesting article about this, the problems of balancing risk and benefit, getting all possible good response from the treatment without making the patient miserable. I give you the beginning and then a link:
Treatment-related side effects and quality of life in cancer patients
Eva Mazzotti & Gian Carlo Antonini Cappellini & Stefania Buconovo & Roberto Morese & Alessandro Scoppola & Claudia Sebastiani & Paolo Marchetti
Background Cancer leads to a complicated pattern of change in quality of life (QoL). Objective The aims of this study were to assess the impact of treatment-related side effects on QoL in cancer patients and to explore which other factors, and to what extent, contribute to explain low QoL scores.
Methods One hundred twenty-three cancer patients receiv- ing chemotherapy completed the self-administered question- naires (Medical Outcomes Short-Form-36 (SF-36) and 12- item General Health Questionnaire). Multiple regression analyses were conducted with the SF-36 physical component summary (PCS) and SF-36 mental component summary (MCS) scores as the dependent variables and demographic and clinical factors as independent variables.
Results Seventy-two percent of patients experienced treatment- related side effects, and 32% resulted positive for psychiat- ric diseases. Two multivariate analyses showed that worse PCS scores, like worse MCS scores, were significantly and independently predicted by treatment-related side effects (odds ratio (OR)05.00, 95%CI 1.29-19.45; OR08.08, 95% CI 2.03-32.22, respectively) and changes in health over the last 12 months (OR 02.34, 95%CI 1.47-3.76; OR03.21, 95% CI 1.90-5.41, respectively), after adjustment for age, gender, years of school, time from cancer diagnosis, and psychiatric disease. Conclusions Given the new emphasis on QoL, we suggest that physicians have a responsibility to openly discuss therapy efficacy, prognosis as well as the potential for adverse events with their patients. Changes in health, as perceived by patient, should also be monitored at follow-up.