Until recently, many elderly patients with stage I non-small cell lung cancer were left untreated because treatment may not improve their quality of life. However, stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) has become one of the standards of treatment for these patients. The outpatient treatment given over a two-week period allows frail patients to undergo the treatment.
Researchers wanted to know if this treatment maintained the same health-related qualify of life levels as patients receiving surgery. The researchers received questionnaires from 382 patients treated with SABR from 68 centers in The Netherlands. The questionnaire asked patients to rate things like physical function, appetite loss, pain and emotional function.
The study, presented in the July 2012 issue of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer's (IASLC) Journal of Thoracic Oncology, concluded that the health-related quality of life in these patients does not seem to be negatively affected.
The authors conclude that in contrast to patients who underwent surgery, measures of qualify of life scores including a range of functional and symptom outcomes did not deteriorate in the first two years after SABR.
Explore further: Elderly Dutch lung patients' survival improved by new treatment options between 2003-2009