, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 475-480

Health-related quality of life using EQ-5D among breast cancer survivors in comparison with age-matched peers from the general population in the state of Penang, Malaysia

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The aim of this study was to compare the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of breast cancer survivors (BCSs) with that of the general female population in a northern state of Malaysia.

Subjects and methods

A comparative cross-sectional study using EuroQoL-5 Dimensions (EQ-5D), a standardized generic instrument, was conducted at Penang General Hospital in Malaysia. Because of its applicability across a wide range of populations as well as for patients and its economic use, the EQ-5D questionnaire was used. A convenience sample of 150 female BCSs (20 years or older) and an equal number from the general population (matched with age bracket and ethnicity) were examined. Chi-square (χ2) test and independent t-test were applied to detect differences in reported problems and overall HRQoL scores between the two groups.


Mean EQ-5D index score was significantly lower for BCSs compared with the general comparative group (0.71 ± 0.25 vs. 0.87 ± 0.16, p < 0.001) with more problems with self-care (13.3% vs. 6.0%, p < 0.001), performing usual activities (21.3% vs. 9.3%, p < 0.001), pain or discomfort (54.0% vs. 33.3%, p < 0.001) as well as anxiety or depression (42.0% vs. 18.7%, p < 0.001). The HRQoL score remained significantly lower when comparing younger and older survivors to their age-matched peers.


This study not only shows that BCSs had poor HRQoL, but also suggests that the predominance of pain and depression might have considerably contributed to the decline in health status. Survivors’ QoL may derive some benefits from interventions targeting pain management and cognitive behavioral therapy for depression.