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Tumori. 1994 Feb 28;80(1):24-7.

What do Italian hospital physicians know about quality of life assessment in oncology?

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  • 1Division of Medical Research, Cilag spa, Cologno Monzese (Milan), Italy.



To assess the current level of information and use of quality of life assessment instruments by Italian physicians involved in oncologic patient care.


Specifically trained scientific representatives of a pharmaceutical company interviewed 2237 hospital physicians all over Italy.


A total of 1390 physicians (62.1%) had some knowledge of quality of life assessment tools in oncology, but 364 of them (26.2%) were unable to recall the name of any instruments. The one that was most frequently recalled by the 1026 physicians who knew of the existence of one or more instruments was the Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) (91%) followed by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance scale (ECOG) (35.5%) whereas the Quality of Life Index and Visual Analogue Scale were at the very bottom of the list (5.9% and 3.7%, respectively). Physician age and type of department were found to be strong predictors of knowledge of the instruments, which was greater among young physicians and those working in oncological departments. Of the physicians aware of the KPS, 56.6% used it, whereas the percentage of physicians using ECOG was higher (69.5%).


The collected data indicate a poor knowledge of quality of life assessment instruments in Italian physicians. Most physicians tend to use so-called << objective >> instruments where the assessment is made by the physician and not by the patient (KPS, ECOG Quality of Life index), are practically unaware of the new generation of "subjective" self-rating instruments. The use of such instruments in particular might provide greater insights into the impact of the disease and related treatments on the quality of life of cancer patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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