Correlation between Demographic, Socio-economic, and Cancer-specific Factors with Quality of Life Scores among Newly-Diagnosed Cancer Patients of the Medical Oncology Clinics of the Philippine General Hospital Cancer Institute

Mary Ondinee U. Manalo and Corazon A. Ngelangel

Section of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila

Introduction. Over the last two decades, pyschosocial research has explored the experience of cancer patients. This study evaluated if demographic, socio-economic and cancer-specific factors impact and correlate with quality of life (QoL) scores at the time of first consult of newly-diagnosed cancer patients seen at medical oncology clinics of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Cancer Institute from 2012-2013.

Methods. Review of charts and interview with a pre-approved and validated questionnaire were done after informed consent. Age, gender marital status, number of close friends, household income band, employment status, cancer site and stage were recorded. Outcomes were cancer-specific QoL EORTC QLQ-C30 correlated with demographic, socio-economic, and cancer-specific factors.

Results. 535 patient were included, 257 male and 278 female. Mean age was 52 years (SD 13.5 years; range20-92 years). Majority (28.7%) belonged to income bracket  P4,293-8,583/month. Majority were married (74.31%) and unemployed (58.4%). Top 5 cancers were colorectal (28.09%), breast (20.70%), head and neck (16.63%), lung (9.97%), lymphoma (7.94%). According to EORTC QLQ-C30, physical functioning  (p=0.0037) and cognitive functioning (p=0.003) were significantly correlated with younger patients while role functioning (p=0.04) and emotional functioning (p=0.03) showed negative correlation with older patients. Fatique was less in female patients (p=0.0005) while being the household head (p=0.0005) was significantly correlated with increased fatique. According to EQ5D, single patients (p=0.016) had better mobility than the rest of patients. Having 5 family members significantly reported less pain (p=0.038). Breast cancer patient had best QOL while bladder cancer patients had the worst QOL. As cancer stage increased, QOL decreased.

Conclusion. This is a first baseline study on self-reported QOL among newly-diagnosed Filipino cancer patients, an important relevant reference in the field of psychosocial issues among low-resourced cancer patients in the Philippines.

Key Words: QoL, Philippine cancer patients