From: Reuters
Published January 30, 2008 08:33 PM

Lung cancer surgery improves quality of life

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Surgery for lung cancer can have a substantial impact on long-term, health-related quality of life, the results of a study published in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggest.

Surgery for early-stage lung cancer is known to have a substantial impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL), but there are few published studies on the what the long-term affects are, Dr. Patricia Kenny, of the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and colleagues point out.

The researchers examined the short- and long-term HRQOL and survival 2 years after surgery in 173 patients with stage I or II non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer. The patients completed HRQOL questionnaires before surgery, at discharge, 1 month after surgery, and then every 4 months for the next 2 years.

Overall, 36 percent of patients experienced recurrence of the cancer within 2 years. Of these, 55 percent received radiation therapy and 24 percent received chemotherapy for symptom relief only, because a cure was no longer continued possible.

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The average time from surgery to disease recurrence was 10.7 months. Postoperative in-hospital mortality was 3 percent. The 2-year survival rate was 65.2 percent.

The patients showed substantial deterioration in all HRQOL categories after surgery except for emotional functioning. For the patients without disease recurrence, HRQOL improved in the 2 years after surgery. However, approximately half of these patients continued to experience symptoms and functional limitations.

Patients who experienced disease recurrence within 2 years had some early postoperative improvement in HRQOL, with subsequent deterioration in most areas.

These findings may provide useful information for health professionals preparing patients for lung cancer surgery, Kenny's team reports. "Although few (if any) would decline surgery, informed decision-making requires a full understanding of the potential outcomes (including HRQOL).

Information provided to the patients on continuing HRQOL effects may also help ensure that appropriate ongoing treatment and support are provided.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology, January 2008.

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