Quality of life of long-term survivors of non-small-cell lung cancer

Linda Sarna, Geraldine Padilla, Carmack Holmes, Donald Tashkin, Mary Lynn Brecht, Lorraine Evangelista

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe the quality of life (QOL) among survivors of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients and Methods: One hundred forty-two 5-year minimum self-reported disease-free survivors of NSCLC completed QOL instruments (QOL-Survivor and Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form [SF-36]) and assessments of emotional distress (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D]), comorbid disease, and tobacco use. Pulmonary function was assessed with a hand-held spirometer. Multivariate regression methods were used on total QOL-Survivor scores and physical (PC) and mental (MC) component scores of the SF-36. Results: The majority (71%) of survivors described themselves as hopeful, and 50% viewed the cancer experience as contributing to positive life changes (QOL-Survivor). Comorbidity was common (60% ≥ one condition); 22% had distressed mood (CES-D ≥ 16). Most were former smokers (76%); 13% continued to smoke. Half had moderate/severe pulmonary distress (forced expired volume in 1 second [FEV1] < 70% of predicted). Regression models including the set of variables (age, sex, living alone, education, smoking status, pulmonary function category, distressed mood, time since diagnosis, and comorbidity) accounted for 37%, 48%, and 29% in the QOL-total, MC, and PC scores, respectively. Primary predictors of lower QOL scores were white ethnicity and distressed mood (CES-D ≥ 16) (34% of the variance explained). The primary predictor of lower MC scores was distressed mood (R2 = 0.45). Lower PC scores were associated with older age, living alone, FEV1 less than 70% of predicted, distressed mood, time since diagnosis, and more comorbid diseases (R2 = 0.28). Conclusion: These findings provide the first description of the QOL of long-term survivors of lung cancer. Risk factors for poorer QOL are strongly linked to distressed mood, which is a potential target for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2920-2929
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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