Objectives To determine the feasibility of collecting population-based patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in assessing quality of life (QoL) to inform the development of a national PROMs programme for cancer and to begin to describe outcomes in a UK cohort of survivors.
Design Cross-sectional postal survey of cancer survivors using a population-based sampling approach.
Setting English National Health Service.
Participants 4992 breast, colorectal, prostate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) survivors 1–5 years from diagnosis.
Primary and secondary outcome measures Implementation issues, response rates, cancer-specific morbidities utilising items including the EQ5D, tumour-specific subscales of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy and Social Difficulties Inventory.
Results 3300 (66%) survivors returned completed questionnaires. The majority aged 85+ years did not respond and the response rates were lower for those from more deprived area. Response rates did not differ by gender, time since diagnosis or cancer type. The presence of one or more long-term conditions was associated with significantly lower QoL scores. Individuals from most deprived areas reported lower QoL scores and poorer outcomes on other measures, as did those self-reporting recurrent disease or uncertainty about disease status. QoL scores were comparable at all time points for all cancers except NHL. QoL scores were lower than those from the general population in Health Survey for England (2008) and General Practice Patient Survey (2012). 47% of patients reported fear of recurrence, while 20% reported moderate or severe difficulties with mobility or usual activities. Bowel and urinary problems were common among colorectal and prostate patients. Poor bowel and bladder control were significantly associated with lower QoL.
Conclusions This method of assessing QoL of cancer survivors is feasible and acceptable to most survivors. Routine collection of national population-based PROMs will enable the identification of, and the support for, the specific needs of survivors while allowing for comparison of outcome by service provider.
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