Gender differences in pain and patient reported outcomes: a secondary analysis of the NCIC CTG SC. 23 randomized trial
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BACKGROUND: Gender differences may contribute to variations in disease presentations and health outcomes. To explore the gender difference in pain and patient reported outcomes in cancer patients with bone metastases undergoing palliative radiotherapy on the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) SC.23 randomized trial. METHODS: Patients completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life (QOL) bone metastases module (QLQ-BM22) and EORTC QOL Core-15-Palliative (QLQ-C15-PAL) before treatment and at days 10 and 42 after a single 8 Gy radiation treatment. Patient demographics, performance status, analgesic consumption, BM22 and C15 were compared between males and females using the 2-sample t-test for continuous variables or the Chi-squared test for categorical variables. Multiple linear regression models were used to check the difference between gender groups adjusting for the baseline demographics and primary disease sites. RESULTS: There were 298 patients (170 male, 128 female) with median age of 69 years. The most common primary cancer sites were lung, prostate and breast. At baseline, there were no differences in BM22 and C15 scores, except a worse nausea and vomiting score (P=0.03) in females on the C15. In patients with moderate baseline worst pain scores (WPS), females reported worse scores in painful sites of BM22. At day 42, there was no significant difference in response to radiotherapy. Among the responders, females reported better improvement in emotional aspect. CONCLUSIONS: In cancer patients with bone metastases undergoing palliative radiotherapy, the majority of symptom presentations, patient reported outcomes, and response to radiation was not significantly different between genders. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01248585.
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