Revista de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0124-0064
SANCHEZ-PEDRAZA, Ricardo; BALLESTEROS, Mónica P and ANZOLA, Jorge D. The concept of quality of life in women suffering from cancer. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2010, vol.12, n.6, pp. 889-902. ISSN 0124-0064. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0124-00642010000600002.
Objective Analyzing a group of females suffering from cancers concept of the quality of life and evaluating how they perceived such concept, depending on patients age-group. Methods The following open-ended question was put to a sample of 114 women suffering from breast cancer, "In your opinion, what is quality of life?" Their replies were analyzed using factorial methods for categorical variables. Results The most used graphical forms and repeated segments were associated with notions linked to well-being and health; analyzing characteristic forms supported these concepts importance. Some concepts appeared to be more relevant according to patient age-group. The young female group emphasized the right and opportunity to have adequate treatment whilst overcoming disease and response to its treatment were relevant to the 41-50 year-old group. Functioning and enjoyment were significant for the 51-60 year-old group whilst patients aged over 60 emphasized spiritual well-being. Binary correspondence analysis identified three domains: health (not just being the absence of disease or infirmity), autonomy or adequate dependence, and family/social well-being. Age-groups had differential representation regarding each domain. Conclusions Besides traditional domains, spirituality and a particular system guaranteeing access to quality health-care emerged as being important domains in female cancer patients perception of the quality of life. Quality of life is a multidimensional and dynamic concept that changes according to age; this suggested that quality of life is supported by subjective conceptualization; the use of scales for measuring quality of life could thus be questionable because of their subjectivity and dynamic nature.
Keywords : Quality of life; outcome assessment (health care); concept formation; health; neoplasm; age group.