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Qual Life Res. 2012 Apr;21(3):389-403. doi: 10.1007/s11136-011-9983-7. Epub 2011 Aug 6.

A mixed methods approach to adapting health-related quality of life measures for use in routine oncology clinical practice.

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Section of Oncology and Clinical Research, St James Institute of Oncology, University of Leeds, Beckett Street, Leeds, LS9 7TF, UK.



The current study reviewed and adapted existing health-related quality of life (HRQoL) instruments for use in routine clinical practice delivering outpatient chemotherapy for colorectal, breast and gynaecological cancers.


564 (288 gynaecological, 208 breast and 68 colorectal) outpatient consultations of 141 patients were audio-recorded and analysed to identify discussed issues. Issues were ranked from most to least commonly discussed within each disease group. Existing HRQoL instruments were evaluated against these lists and best fitting items entered into cancer-specific item banks. Item banks were evaluated during semi-structured interviews by twenty-one oncologists (13 consultants and 8 specialist registrars), four clinical nurse specialists and thirty patients, from breast, gynaecological and colorectal cancer practices. Pilot questionnaires were completed by 448 (145 breast, 148 gynaecological and 155 colorectal) patients attending outpatient clinics. Item selection and scale reliability was explored using descriptive data and psychometric methods alongside qualitative patient and clinician ratings.


Each questionnaire includes five physical and three psychosocial function scales each with good internal consistency reliability (α > 0.70) plus disease-specific individual-symptom items identified as useful in clinical practice.


Three cancer-specific health-related quality of life measures were developed for use in routine clinical practice. Initial analyses suggest good clinical utility and acceptable psychometric properties for the new instruments.

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