Quality of life in stage II breast cancer: an instrument for clinical trials.
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A questionnaire has been developed for use as an outcome measure in clinical trials of adjuvant chemotherapy in women with stage II breast cancer. The selection of items for this Breast Cancer Chemotherapy Questionnaire (BCQ) was based on the problems and experiences felt to be most important by women undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy. The BCQ consists of 30 questions that focus on loss of attractiveness, fatigue, physical symptoms, inconvenience, emotional distress, and feelings of hope and support from others. The BCQ, other instruments that evaluate quality-of-life (Spitzer, Karnofsky, and Rand), and patient and physician global assessments were administered serially to 418 patients taking part in a randomized trial comparing a 12-week regimen and a 36-week regimen of adjuvant chemotherapy. The validity of the BCQ is supported by its correlation with the Rand Emotional (r = .58), Rand Physical (r = .60), and Spitzer (r = .62) questionnaires. The BCQ correlated more strongly with global ratings of both physical and emotional function by the patients and their physicians than the other instruments. A comparison of the quality-of-life outcomes of patients in the two treatment groups in the period beyond 3 months after initiation of treatment, when one group had completed the treatment course and the other was still on treatment, revealed that the BCQ and Karnofsky were the only instruments able to demonstrate differences between the groups (P less than .0001). Hence, the BCQ is a valid and responsive method of assessing treatment-related morbidity in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for stage II breast cancer.
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