Research Article| Volume 15, ISSUE 5, P486-491, December 2011

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Gender differences in predicting quality of life in cancer patients with pain

Published:January 24, 2011DOI:



      Numerous studies have identified several factors influencing quality of life (QOL) in cancer patients. However, studies on gender differences in cancer-related physical symptoms and QOL levels have yielded inconsistent results. The present study examined common symptoms (i.e., pain intensity, fatigue, and depression) in regard to their ability to predict QOL in male and female oncology patients with cancer pain.


      A total of 114 oncology outpatients, including 34 males and 80 females, with pain completed a demographic questionnaire, the Multidimensional Quality of Life Scale – Cancer, the Lee Fatigue Scale, the Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale, and a numeric rating scale for pain intensity.


      The female patients reported significantly lower psychological dimension of QOL than their male counterparts (p=0.009). Also for the females, a negative correlation was found between pain intensity and QOL (r=−0.504, p<0.0001), as well as positive correlations between pain intensity and fatigue (r=0.421, p<0.0001) and depression (r=0.368, p<0.0001). Stepwise linear regression analyses showed that among the females, QOL was significantly predicted by pain intensity as well as by depression (F(2,75)=52.62, p<0.0001, Adj. R2=0.57). However, among the males, depression was the only symptom found to predict QOL (F(2,30)=9.72, p<0.001, Adj. R2=0.39).


      Therefore, it is concluded that gender should be considered as an additional feature for further characterizing QOL. Gender differences in factors predicting QOL warrant different clinical approaches to male and female patients, and identifying these differences may assist health care providers in tailoring treatment modalities to individual patients for optimal outcomes.


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