“I just received the copy of Oncology & Hematology Review in the mail – it looks great!”
While the need to assess the impact of a disease and its treatment on the functional, psychological and social health of patients was raised eons ago, clinicians have only recently embraced the importance of health-related quality of life (HRQoL).1 Over the past decade greaterinterest has been centred on HRQoL at an individual patient level2 by clinicians and other health and social care professionals, recapturing, without question, the ancient idea of including patient-reported outcomes (PROs) as part of patient medical records.3 PROs gain more importance when seen to aid the management of individual patients.2 PROs are increasingly used in oncology because both cancer and its treatment are severely debilitating and clinicians consider the outputs of these questionnaires when making patient management or treatment decisions.4 Furthermore, patients want to be wellinformed about treatment options and to be involved in any decisions in terms of their treatment and care.5 Previous studies by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) have proved that HRQoL measurement findings may help when choosing the best treatment options for oncology patients.4,5 HRQoL has also proved to be a prognostic variable that can be important in guiding treatment decisions when alternatives demonstrate similar survival outcomes.6,7
HRQoL is a subjective, multidimensional construct that encompasses domains such as general health, physical symptoms, physical functioning, emotional wellbeing, cognition, role functioning, social wellbeing, sexual functioning and spirituality.8,9
While PROs measure patient self-view of health status and wellbeing, health outcome measurements (HOMs) measure changes in the health status3 and wellbeing of patients as a result of medical intervention, or the lack of it. This implies that HOMs are responsive to change following an intervention and they can be repeated over time.