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Measurement of Quality of Life in Patients With End-Stage Cancer

Kim, Kyeong Uoon PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31827b5bdc

Background: Cancer is the leading cause of death in Korean adults. A good quality of life for patients at end life can control pain and symptoms and help maintain well-being.

Objective: The aim of this study was to measure quality of life in end-stage cancer patients using the Korean version of the McMaster Quality of Life (K-MQOL).

Methods: The K-MQOL was administered to adult end-stage cancer patients from 4 Korean university hospitals. We hypothesized quality-of-life differences between participants by daily activity level, number of symptoms, and participant status (alive or not) at end of study.

Results: Participants’ mean age was 49.2 years, and 74.5% were men. As hypothesized for discriminant validity, Pearson correlation coefficients among the K-MQOL were less than 0.4, with the exceptions of emotion (0.25–0.52) and cognition (0.33–0.51). A higher Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance States Rating score was significantly associated with a lower quality of life (F = 2.840, P = 0.034). The mean score of those within 21 days of death was significantly lower than that of patients who were alive at the end of the study (t = −2.48, P = .04). Patients with a smaller number of symptoms other than pain had significantly higher quality-of-life scores than did those with more symptoms (F = 5.059, P = .004).

Conclusions: The K-MQOL provided reliable and valid scores of quality of life in end-stage cancer patients.

Implications for Practice: Assessing end-stage cancer patients’ quality of life helps to identify each patient’s condition and aspects that could benefit from nursing care. We anticipate that the K-MQOL will be useful for patient assessment in clinical and community settings.

Author Affiliation: Department of Public Health, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

The author has no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Kyeong Uoon Kim, PhD, RN, Department of Public Health, Korea University, 145 Anam-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-701, Republic of Korea (

Accepted for publication October 22, 2012.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins