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Keywords:

  • quality of life;
  • symptomatology;
  • questionnaire;
  • leukaemia;
  • multiple myeloma;
  • malignant lymphoma;
  • haematologic diseases

Abstract

Objectives:  Knowledge of health related quality of life of haematological patients is limited. This study aimed at investigating the prevalence and predictors of symptoms and problems in a representative sample of haematological patients in Denmark.

Methods:  A random sample of patients with leukaemia, multiple myeloma and advanced lymphoma (n = 732) received the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality-of-life questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30). Mean scores were calculated. In addition, scores were dichotomised using two thresholds: patients reporting at least ‘a little’ of each EORTC QLQ-C30 symptom/problem were classified as having a ‘symptom/problem’, and patients reporting at least ‘quite a bit’ were classified as having a ‘severe symptom/problem’. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify predictors.

Results:  In total, 470 (64%) patients participated. The most frequent symptoms/problems were fatigue (55%; severe 20%), reduced role function (49%; severe 23%), insomnia (46%; severe 15%), and pain (37%; severe 15%). Older patients and patients in active antineoplastic treatment had more symptoms and problems. There was only little evidence of social inequalities.

Conclusion:  This is probably the first nationally representative study of symptoms and problems in haematological patients. These patients have symptoms/problems that deserve attention. Health related quality of life is an important issue in haematological malignancies.