, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 991-998
Date: 06 Aug 2009

Concordance of cancer patients’ function, symptoms, and supportive care needs

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Although patients’ function, symptoms, and supportive care needs are obviously related, a better understanding of these relationships could improve patient management.


In this cross-sectional, observational study, 117 cancer patients completed the Supportive Care Needs Survey-34 and EORTC-QLQ-C30. Each symptom and function domain from the EORTC-QLQ-C30 was dichotomized (high vs. low) using a cut-off of reference sample mean scores. Each need domain was dichotomized using a cut-off of an average score representing an unmet need. We explored within-patient patterns of function, symptom, and need domains using latent class analysis. Based on these patterns, patients were categorized as high versus low function; high versus low symptom; and high versus low need. We examined the concordance between categorizations of patients’ function, symptoms, and needs.


The categorizations of function, symptoms, and needs were concordant for 66 patients (56%). Among patients with deficits in at least one area (n = 68), categorizations for 51 patients (75%) were discordant.


About 50% of patients have similar classifications of their level of function, symptoms, and needs, but discordance was common among patients with deficits in at least one area, emphasizing the importance of assessing all of these outcomes as part of patient evaluations.