Health-related quality of life in survivors of tumours of the central nervous system in childhood—a preference-based approach to measurement in a cross-sectional study1Presented in part to the meetings of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) in Paris, September 1994 and Montevideo, October 1995.1
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There is an evident need to measure the comprehensive burden of morbidity experienced by survivors of brain tumours in childhood. To this end, a questionnaire based on the Health Utilities Index mark 2 (HUI2) and mark 3 (HUI3) systems was completed independently for a cohort of such children by their parents, by a nurse, by physicians and by a selected group of the children themselves. Each of the HUI2 and HUI3 systems consists of a multi-attribute health status classification scheme linked to a preference function which provides utility scores for levels within single attributes (domains of health) and for global health states. All eligible families (n = 44) participated. Even cognitively impaired children of at least 9.5 years of age could complete the questionnaire. The greatest burden of morbidity, occurring in two-thirds of children, was in the attribute of cognition. Surprisingly, almost one-third of children experienced pain. Global health status was lowest in children who underwent radiotherapy before the age of 5 years and the corresponding utility scores were related inversely to the volume irradiated. Children with demonstrable disease had lower scores than those in whom disease was not evident. There was a high level of agreement (intraclass correlation coefficients > 0.5) on formal assessment of inter-rater reliability for global health-related quality of life utility scores. The usefulness of measures of health status and health-related quality of life, in children surviving brain tumours, has been demonstrated by this study.
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