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11-06-2020 | Uitgave 11/2020 Open Access

Quality of Life Research 11/2020

Using a quality of life (QoL)-monitor: preliminary results of a randomized trial in Dutch patients with early breast cancer

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 11/2020
R. T. Lugtenberg, M. J. Fischer, F. de Jongh, K. Kobayashi, K. Inoue, A. Matsuda, K. Kubota, N. Weijl, K. Yamaoka, S. R. S. Ramai, J. W. R. Nortier, H. Putter, H. Gelderblom, A. A. Kaptein, J. R. Kroep
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11136-020-02549-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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The diagnosis and treatment of cancer negatively affect patients’ physical, functional and psychological wellbeing. Patients’ needs for care cannot be addressed unless they are recognized by healthcare providers (HCPs). The use of quality of life (QoL) assessments with feedback to HCPs might facilitate the identification and discussion of QoL-topics.


113 patients with stage I–IIIB breast cancer treated with chemotherapy were included in this randomized controlled trial. Patients were randomly allocated to receive either usual care, or usual care with an intervention consisting of a QoL-monitor assessing QoL, distress and care needs before every chemotherapy cycle visit. Patients completed questionnaires regarding QoL, illness perceptions, self-efficacy, and satisfaction with communication. From the 2nd visit onwards, patients in the intervention arm and their HCPs received a copy of the QoL overview and results were shown in patients’ medical files. Audio-recordings and patients’ self-reports were used to investigate effects on communication, patient management and patient-wellbeing. A composite score for communication was calculated by summing the number of QoL-topics discussed during each consultation.


Use of the QoL-monitor resulted in a higher communication score (0.7 topics increase per visit, p = 0.04), especially regarding the disease-specific and psychosocial issues (p < 0.01). There were no differences in patient management, QoL, illness perceptions or distress. Patients in the experimental arm (n = 60) had higher scores on satisfaction with communication (p < 0.05).


Use of a QoL-monitor during chemotherapy in patients with early breast cancer might result in a more frequent discussion of QoL-topics, associated with high levels of patients’ satisfaction.

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