Measuring the Wellbeing of Cancer Patients with Generic and Disease-Specific Instruments

Gang Chen, Norma B. Bulamu, Ellen McGrane, Jeff Richardson

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Different wellbeing measures have been used among cancer patients. This study aimed to first investigate the sensitivity of health state utility (HSU), capability, and subjective wellbeing (SWB) instruments in cancer. A cancer-specific instrument (QLQ-C30) was included and transferred onto the cancer-specific HSU scores. Furthermore, it examined the relative importance of key life domains explaining overall life satisfaction. Data were drawn from the Multi-instrument Comparison survey. Linear regression was used to explore the extent to which the QLQ-C30 sub-scales explain HSU and SWB. Kernel-based Regularized Least Squares (KRLS), a machine learning method, was used to explore the life domain importance of cancer patients. As expected, the QLQ-C30 sub-scales explained the vast majority of the variance in its derived cancer-specific HSU (R2 = 0.96), followed by generic HSU instruments (R2 of 0.65–0.73) and SWB and capability instruments (R2 of 0.33–0.48). The cancer-specific measure was more closely correlated with generic HSU than SWB measures, owing to the construction of these instruments. In addition to health, life achievements, relationships, the standard of living, and future security all play an important role in explaining the overall life satisfaction of cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1351
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • cancer
  • capability
  • health state utility
  • life satisfaction
  • subjective wellbeing


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