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1.  Quality of life in patients with gastric cancer: translation and psychometric evaluation of the Iranian version of EORTC QLQ-STO22 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:305.
Background
Disease and treatment related events, can adversely affect the quality of life of patients with cancer. The purpose of this study was to translate and validate a gastric cancer specific health related quality of life questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-STO22) for Iranian patients suffering from gastric cancer.
Methods
Forward-backward procedure was applied to translate the English language version of the EORTC QLQ-STO22 into Persian (Iranian language). Then, the questionnaire and the EORTC core quality of life instrument (QLQ-C30) were administered to a sample of patients with confirmed diagnosis of gastric cancer. All patients filled in questionnaires before and after one month of treatment. Patients were divided into two groups based on intension of treatment (curative vs. palliative). Reliability and validity of the module was tested by internal consistency and known group comparisons, respectively.
Results
In all, 105 patients were entered into the study. Cronbach's alpha for multi-item scales (to test reliability) ranged from 0.54 to 0.87. The questionnaire discriminated well between clinically distinct subgroups of patients both before and after treatment lending support to its convergent and clinical validity.
Conclusion
Overall, the Iranian version of the EORTC QLQ-STO22 demonstrated a good reliability and clinical validity to support its use in combination with core questionnaire in outcome studies of gastric cancer in Iran. However, using the QLQ-STO22 in a wide range of Iranian patients with gastric cancer should allow further confirmation for its psychometric properties.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-305
PMCID: PMC2741487  PMID: 19715606
2.  Disclosure of cancer diagnosis and quality of life in cancer patients: should it be the same everywhere? 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:39.
Background
Evidence suggests that truth telling and honest disclosure of cancer diagnosis could lead to improved outcomes in cancer patients. To examine such findings in Iran, this trial aimed to study the various dimensions of quality of life in patients with gastrointestinal cancer and to compare these variables among those who knew their diagnosis and those who did not.
Methods
A consecutive sample of patients with gastrointestinal cancer being treated in Cancer Institute in Tehran, Iran was prospectively evaluated. A psychologist interviewed patients using the Iranian version of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30). Patients were categorized into two groups: those who knew their diagnosis and those who did not. Independent sample t-test was used for group comparisons.
Results
In all 142 patients were interviewed. A significant proportion (52%) of patients did not know their cancer diagnosis and 48% of patients were aware that they had cancer. They were quite similar in most characteristics. The comparison of quality of life between two groups indicated that those knew their diagnosis showed a significant lower degree of physical (P = 0.001), emotional (P = 0.01) and social functioning (P < 0.001), whereas the global quality of life and other functional scales including role functioning and cognitive functioning did not show significant result. There were no statistically significant differences between symptoms scores between two groups, except for fatigue suggesting a higher score in patients who knew their diagnosis (P = 0.01). The financial difficulties were also significantly higher in patients who knew their cancer diagnosis (P = 0.005). Performing analysis of variance while controlling for age, educational status, cancer site, and knowledge of cancer diagnosis, the results showed that the knowledge of cancer diagnosis independently still contributed to the significant differences observed between two groups.
Conclusion
Contrary to expectation the findings indicated that patients who did not know their cancer diagnosis had a better physical, social and emotional quality of life. It seems that due to cultural differences between countries cancer disclosure guidelines perhaps should be differing.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-39
PMCID: PMC2639611  PMID: 19178719
3.  Quality of life in patients with breast cancer before and after diagnosis: an eighteen months follow-up study 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:330.
Background
Measuring quality of life in breast cancer patients is of importance in assessing treatment outcomes. This study examined the impact of breast cancer diagnosis and its treatment on quality of life of women with breast cancer.
Methods
This was a prospective study of quality of life in breast cancer patients. Quality of life was measured using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its breast cancer supplementary measure (QLQ-BR23) at three points in time: baseline (pre diagnosis), three months after initial treatment and one year after completion of treatment (in all 18 months follow-up). At baseline the questionnaires were administered to all suspected identified patients while both patients and the interviewer were blind to the final diagnosis. Socio-demographic and clinical data included: age, education, marital status, disease stage and initial treatment. Repeated measure analysis was performed to compare quality of life differences over the time.
Results
In all, 167 patients diagnosed with breast cancer. The mean age of breast cancer patients was 47.2 (SD = 13.5) years and the vast majority (82.6%) underwent mastectomy. At eighteen months follow-up data for 99 patients were available for analysis. The results showed there were significant differences in patients' functioning and global quality of life at three points in time (P < 0.001). Although there were deteriorations in patients' scores for body image and sexual functioning, there were significant improvements for breast symptoms, systematic therapy side effects and patients' future perspective (P < 0.05).
Conclusion
The findings suggest that overall breast cancer patients perceived benefit from their cancer treatment in long-term. However, patients reported problems with global quality of life, pain, arm symptoms and body image even after 18 months following their treatments. In addition, most of the functional scores did not improve.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-330
PMCID: PMC2588619  PMID: 19014435
4.  Weight, height, body mass index and risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women: a case-control study 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:278.
Background
Many women in Iran have a relatively high body mass index. To investigate whether the condition contributes to excess breast cancer cases, a case-control study was conducted to assess the relationships between anthropometric variables and breast cancer risk in Tehran, Iran.
Methods
All incident cases of breast cancer in the Iranian Centre for Breast Cancer (ICBC) were identified through the case records. Eligible cases were all postmenopausal women with histological confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer during 1996 to year 2000. Controls were randomly selected postmenopausal women attending the ICBC for clinical breast examination during the same period. The body mass index (BMI) was calculated based on weights and heights as measured by the ICBC nursing staff. Both tests for trend and logistic regression analysis were performed to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals as measures of relative risk.
Results
In all, 116 breast cancer cases and 116 controls were studied. There were no significant differences between cases and control with regard to most independent variables studied. However, a significant difference was observed between cases and controls indicating that the mean BMI was higher in cases as compared to controls (P = 0.004). Performing logistic regression analysis while controlling for age, age at menopause, family history of breast cancer and parity, the results showed that women with a BMI in the obese range had a three fold increased risk of breast cancer [odds ratio (OR) = 3.21, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15–8.47].
Conclusion
The results suggest that obesity in postmenopausal women could increase risk of breast cancer and it merits further investigation in populations such as Iran where it seems that many women are short in height, and have a relatively high body mass index.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-278
PMCID: PMC2569958  PMID: 18826621
5.  Depression and quality of life in cancer patients with and without pain: the role of pain beliefs 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:177.
Background
Pain is said to be one of the most feared and distressing symptoms of cancer and one that disrupts all aspects of life. The purposes of this study were: 1) to compare depression and quality of life among Iranian cancer patients with and without pain; and 2) to determine the relationships between pain beliefs and depression and quality of life.
Method
A consecutive sample of gastrointestinal cancer patients attending to Tehran Cancer Institute were entered into the study. Three standard instruments were used to measure quality of life (the EORTC QLQ-C30), depression (the HADS) and pain beliefs (the PBPI).
Results
A total of 142 hospitalized gastrointestinal cancer patients, 98 with pain and 44 without pain were studied. The main findings of this study were that cancer patients with pain reported significantly lower levels of role functioning, emotional functioning and global quality of life. They also showed higher levels of depression than cancer patients who did not experience pain. Among patients with pain, higher scores on pain permanence and pain consistency were positively and significantly associated with higher depression. Also, higher scores on pain consistency were negatively and significantly associated with global quality of life.
Conclusion
This study has demonstrated the effect of cancer pain on patients' quality of life and emotional status and has supported the multidimensional notion of the cancer pain experience in cancer patients. Although these data are correlational, they provide additional support for a biopsychosocial model of chronic pain.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-177
PMCID: PMC2443809  PMID: 18570676
6.  Quality of life in patients with advanced gastric cancer: a randomized trial comparing docetaxel, cisplatin, 5-FU (TCF) with epirubicin, cisplatin, 5-FU (ECF) 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:274.
Background
Health related quality of life (HRQOL) is an important outcome after treatment for upper gastrointestinal carcinoma. This study aimed to compare HRQOL in patients with advanced gastric cancer (GC) receiving either a standard or an experimental treatment.
Methods
Seventy-one patients have been treated in Cancer Institute (Tehran, Iran) with docetaxel, cisplatin, 5 FU (TCF) or epirubicin, cisplatin, 5-FU (ECF) and were followed from Jan 2002 to Jan 2005. End points were response rate, HRQOL and survival. HRQOL was assessed using the EORCT QLQ-C30 at baseline and after the third cycle of chemotherapy.
Results
The baseline HRQOL scores were comparable between two groups. After treatment improvement was seen in a number of items and domains except for cognitive functioning, and diarrhoea. Pain decreased and physical functioning improved in both groups. However, only the TCF group showed statistically and clinically meaningful improvement in global QOL (P = 0.001). Surgical and pathologic response was better with TCF but there was no difference in survival rate between two groups.
Conclusion
Docetaxel based treatment (TCF) showed better palliation and improvement of global QOL as compared with epirubicin based treatment (ECF). However, it seems that regardless of treatment offered, effective chemotherapy was the most important factor affecting QOL in these patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-274
PMCID: PMC1693922  PMID: 17147808
7.  Breast conserving surgery versus mastectomy: cancer practice by general surgeons in Iran 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:35.
Background
There appear to be geographical differences in decisions to perform mastectomy or breast conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer. This study was carried out to evaluate general surgeons' preferences in breast cancer surgery and to assess the factors predicting cancer practice in Iran.
Methods
A structured questionnaire was mailed to 235 general surgeons chosen from the address list of the Iranian Medical Council. The questionnaire elicited information about the general surgeons' characteristics and about their work experience, posts they have held, number of breast cancer operations performed per year, preferences for mastectomy or breast conserving surgery, and the reasons for these preferences.
Results
In all, 83 surgeons returned the completed questionnaire. The results indicated that only 19% of the surgeons routinely performed breast conserving surgery (BCS) and this was significantly associated with their breast cancer case load (P < 0.01). There were no associations between BCS practice and the other variables studied. The most frequent reasons for not performing BCS were uncertainty about conservative therapy results (46%), uncertainty about the quality of available radiotherapy services (32%), and the probability of patients' non-compliance in radiotherapy (32%).
Conclusion
The findings indicate that Iranian surgeons do not routinely perform BCS as the first and the best treatment modality. Further research is recommended to evaluate patients' outcomes after BCS treatment in Iran, with regard to available radiotherapy facilities and cultural factors (patients' compliance).
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-35
PMCID: PMC1087478  PMID: 15811187
8.  Does knowledge of cancer diagnosis affect quality of life? A methodological challenge 
BMC Cancer  2004;4:21.
Background
As part of an assessment of quality of life in lung cancer patients an investigation was carried out to examine whether the knowledge of their diagnosis affected their quality of life.
Methods
Every patient in a defined geographical area with a potential diagnosis of lung cancer was interviewed at first consultation and after a definitive treatment has been given. Quality of life was assessed using three standard measures: the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), the EORTC quality of life questionnaire (QLQ-C30) and its lung cancer supplementary questionnaire (QLQ-LC13). Comparison was made in quality of life scores between patients who knew their cancer diagnosis and those who did not.
Results
In all, 129 lung cancer patients were interviewed. Of these, 30 patients (23%) knew and 99 (78%) did not know their cancer diagnosis at the time of baseline assessment. The patient groups were similar in their characteristics except for age (P = 0.04) and cell type (P < 0.0001). Overall, there were no significant differences between these two groups with regard to their scores on the three instruments used. A major finding was that both group scored almost the same on emotional reactions (P = 0.8) and social isolation (P = 1.0) as measured by the NHP, and emotional (P = 0.7) and social functioning (P = 1.0) as measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30. In addition there were no significant differences in patients' symptom scores between those who knew their diagnosis and those who did not, nor did any consistent pattern emerge. The only significant difference was for sleep difficulties (P = 0.02).
Conclusion
The findings suggest that the knowledge of cancer diagnosis does not affect the way in which patients respond to quality of life questionnaires.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-4-21
PMCID: PMC420242  PMID: 15151702

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