Lung Cancer Surgery Has Big Impact on Quality of Life

Survival comes at a cost to quality of day-to-day life

TUESDAY, Jan. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer has a big impact on subsequent health-related quality of life, according to a report published in the Jan. 10 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Patricia M. Kenny, of the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues conducted a study of 173 patients with stage I or II non-small-cell lung cancer whose health-related quality of life was assessed one month after surgery and then every four months for two years.

The two-year survival rate was 65 percent, but within two years 36 percent of patients had experienced disease recurrence. With the exception of emotional functioning, surgery caused a substantial reduction in health-related quality of life. For those who did not experience recurrence of disease, health-related quality of life improved over the two years even though half of them still experienced symptoms and were functionally limited, but for those who experienced recurrence, across most dimensions health-related quality of life declined.

"These results can provide useful information for clinicians preparing patients for lung cancer surgery. Although few (if any) would decline surgery, informed decision making requires a full understanding of the potential outcomes (including health-related quality of life)," the authors conclude.

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