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Public Health. 2009 Apr;123(4):321-5. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Dec 9.

Reliability of health-related quality-of-life indicators in cancer survivors from a population-based sample, 2005, BRFSS.

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  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, 1 Hospital Drive, MA306E Medical Sciences Building, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO 65212, USA.



The current emphasis in cancer survivorship research, which includes health-related quality of life (HRQoL), drives the need to monitor the nation's cancer burden. Routine, ongoing public health surveillance tools, such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), may be relevant for this purpose.


A subsample of the 2005 Missouri BRFSS was used to estimate test-retest reliability of HRQoL questions among persons who did and did not report a personal cancer history.


Retest interviews were conducted by telephone 14-21 days after the initial data collection (n=540, 67% response rate). Reliability was estimated overall and by cancer history using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) and kappa statistics.


The majority of retest respondents were White, female and married, with 13% reporting a history of cancer. Overall, point estimates of the reliability coefficients ranged from moderate to excellent (kappa=0.57-0.75). There were no statistically significant differences in test-retest reliability between persons with and without a history of cancer, except for self-reported pain (ICC=0.59 and ICC=0.78, respectively).


In general, BRFSS questions appear to have adequate reliability for monitoring HRQoL in this community-dwelling population, regardless of cancer history.

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