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Quality of life

Women discussing trials

This page tells you about 'quality of life' studies and questionnaires. These look at how your treatment or illness affects you.

Many trials include a quality of life assessment as part of the bigger trial, especially if the trial is comparing treatments. It is either included as part of the main trial. Or it is classed as a separate 'quality of life study' (sometimes called a sub study).

You will probably be asked to fill in some questionnaires as part of the study. You could be asked

  • How you are managing to go to work
  • If you are having to do anything differently at home
  • If you feel more or less tired than usual
  • If you are more or less anxious or depressed
  • What side effects you have had
  • How you feel generally

You may be asked how making trips to the hospital has affected you. You may also be asked to keep a diary. This could contain notes about how you are feeling after your treatment, or when you get a particular side effect and how long it lasts. Or how often you need to take painkillers.

Some of the questions may seem odd, but it is important to know how treatments affect people as well as how well they work. Improving patients' quality of life is often a very important aim of treatment. Patients are also more likely to stick with a treatment if it has fewer side effects or if they don't have to go to the hospital so often.

If you want to know how a particular question helps the research, ask your research nurse or doctor.

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Updated: 10 October 2013