More than half of the patients with advanced cancer have no perception of their prognosis. Patients with a perceived prognosis have lower HRQoL, but only in patients who perceived their prognosis as limited (< 1 year) and were probably closer to the end of life, which more likely determines their poorer HRQoL, rather than prognostic perception. Ignorance of prognosis is not associated with lower HRQoL, however, should not hamper appropriate palliative care.
Of 1000 patients with advanced cancer, 29% perceived their prognosis as > 1 year, 13% < 1 year, and 4% non-life threatening. Thirty-six percent did not know their prognosis and another 15% did not want to know. Patients without a perception were older, lower educated, coped differently (less accepting, planning, active; more denial), and received treatment more often (p < 0.05). Global QoL was lower in patients with vs. without a perceived prognosis (66 (SD21) vs. 69 (SD19), p = 0.01), specifically in patients who perceived a limited rather than a longer prognosis (57 (SD22) vs. 70 (SD19), p < 0.01). Global QoL of patients who did not want to know their prognosis was comparable to patients who did not know for other reasons (71 (SD19) vs. 69 (SD19), p = 0.22).
To assess perception of prognosis in patients with advanced cancer, its association with patient's characteristics and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).
In a multicentre observational cohort study (eQuiPe), conducted on patients with advanced cancer, perceived prognosis, coping strategies, and HRQoL were assessed. Clinical data were obtained from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Patients with vs. without a perception of prognosis, patients who perceived their prognosis as limited (< 1 year) vs. longer (> 1 year), and patients who did not want to know their prognosis vs. those who did not know for other reasons were compared.