Alcimed Position Paper – « Quality of life in cancer care – Do we care enough? »
POSITION PAPER – Quality of life in cancer care – do we care enough?
Quality of life is very important for patients that suffer often of treatment-related side effects, tumor-related side effects, or psychological issues. QoL is difficult to define, measure and control, but many options exist to positively influence it. In this position paper, we invite you to reflect on the importance of QoL and discover potential solutions to improve it.
Cancer often is a deadly disease with strong impact on the quality of life of patients; patients have to live with cancer and must learn to manage its disease effects, treatment side effects, the psychological stress and other elements that strongly impact their QoL. Even if the disease might turn somehow chronic and immediate threat to life is reduced, many patients need to undergo regular substantial monitoring which carries its own risks and negative implications, while also mentally carrying the disease with them. Consequently, many patients suffer not only from the disease itself but from the impact it has on their life and more precisely their overall reduced quality of life.
Quality of life is very important for patients; however, it is difficult to define, measure and control. Many options exist to positively influence patients ‘quality of life by e.g. applying multidisciplinary compassionate care, using digital tools, technologies or services, recommending on special nutrition, or by engaging supportive care programs around exercising, yoga, or mindfulness-based meditation for instance. Another lever to improve quality of life is to systematically include it as a primary endpoint in clinical trials with a special focus on the post-treatment period potentially involving real-world evidence.
In this position paper we discuss how quality of life in cancer care is defined, how it can be measured as well as what key elements impact on quality of life of patients. We also investigate ways to improve quality of life ranging from differently designed clinical trials, supportive care program up to mindfulness-based meditation. We also touch on barriers that slow down systematic integration of quality of life into cancer care and discuss ways to overcomes these barriers. Enjoy the reading and feel free to contact us should you want to go and explore further together!