Most patients with lung cancer are already inoperable at diagnosis. Of these, several are unable to tolerate chemotherapy and are managed palliatively. We looked for any correlation between respiratory symptoms and pulmonary functions on morbidity and quality of life.
A 26-item WHO-Quality of Life - Bref questionnaire in Hindi was used to assess the quality of life. This questionnaire comprises four domains-Physical, Psychological, Social and Environmental. Domain scores were correlated with forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, peak expiratory flow rate, forced expiratory flow, mean inspiratory and expiratory pressures as well as dyspnea indices including visual analogue scale (VAS), six-minute walk test (6MWT), single breath count (SBC) and breath holding time (BHT).
There was no significant correlation of any domain with cough, dyspnea, or hemoptysis. Chest pain correlated significantly with the physical domain (p= 0.40). Among pulmonary functions, only forced vital capacity correlated with the social domain (p=0.01). The physical and psychological domains correlated with VAS and 6MWT (p= 0.000, 0.000, 0.007 and 0.001 respectively). Psychological and social domains correlated with SBC (p=0.002 and 0.036 respectively).
Quality of life in lung cancer patients is directly related to their respiratory status, especially the presence of dyspnea and chest pain. VAS, 6MWT and SBC reliably assess a patient’s physical, psychological and social aspects of quality of life. Spirometry is not very useful in quality of life measurements.
Efforts to ameliorate chest pain and dyspnea in lung cancer patients may significantly improve the quality of life in lung cancer.
Demographic Profile and Mean Domain ScoresNumber of patients: 90Cough: 72Mean age (years): 55.5Dyspnea: 65Males/females: 77/13Chest pain: 61Mean duration of symptoms (months): 7.23Hemoptysis: 39Mean pack-years: 23.2Mean Scores:Non-small cell cancer: 80Domain I: 10.69Small-cell cancer: 10Domain II 11.39Domain III: 13.2Domain IV:11.42
A. Mohan, None.