At the 2009 MASCC (Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer) / ISOO (International Society of Oral Oncology) International Symposium held in Rome this past June, Chantal Quinten, a statistical researcher in the Quality of Life Department at EORTC Headquarters, received a 2009 MASCC Young Investigator Award for her abstract “The association between age and gender with health related quality of life for patients stratified by disease severity: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”.
Along with colleagues from the EORTC Quality of Life Department, the University of British Columbia, the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, the National Cancer Institute, and the University of Sydney, Ms. Quinten investigated the influence of health related quality of life (HRQOL) scores obtained from EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaires completed by a subset of metastatic and non-metastatic cancer patients. The subset included 6,862 patients representing 15 different countries and 11 cancer sites. The investigation shows that age (<40, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, ≥80) and gender are strongly linked with HRQOL status, but that this relationship is dependent on disease stage.
Across all the age categories, older people reported a higher level of symptom burden than younger cancer patients, except for nausea and vomiting. For the functioning scales a constant pattern was found across age categories. Significant differences between age groups were reported in non-metastatic patients for physical and role functioning, constipation and financial difficulties. For metastatic patients age is a significant factor for social functioning, pain, insomnia and financial difficulties.
As for gender differences, except for dysapnea, women reported a higher level of symptomatic problems and a lower functioning and global health status compared to men. Gender is significant in non-metastatic patients for global health status, social, physical, role, and cognitive functioning, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, insomnia, appetite loss, and constipation. For metastatic patients gender is significant for physical and cognitive functioning, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea and financial difficulties.
 C. Quinten, C. Gotay, J. Ringash, B. Reeve, M. King, and A. Bottomley. The association between age and gender with health related quality of life for patients stratified by disease severity: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Support Care Cancer (2009) 17:1017.