Aims and objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the levels of symptom experiences and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients participating in clinical trials, and to identify the factors influencing their HRQOL. Background: It has known that lung cancer patients experience more symptoms than other cancer patients. With the introduction of new treatment for NSCLC patients, the patients have experienced different types of symptoms and it could influence their HRQOL. Design: A cross-sectional study design was adopted. Methods: One hundred and eighteen NSCLC patients enrolled in clinical trials at two Korean tertiary hospitals participated in this study. Participants completed the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS) and the Short-Form Health Survey 36 (SF-36) version 2. Demographic, disease-related and clinical trial-related characteristics were collected. Descriptive statistics, t test, Mann–Whitney test, ANOVA, Pearson correlation and multiple regression were used for data analysis. STROBE checklist was applied as the reporting guideline for this study (see Supporting Information File S1). Results: The total MSAS score was relatively low, and “lack of energy” was the highest symptom level in frequency, severity and distress. The level of physical HRQOL was higher than the cut-off score, and the level of mental HRQOL was lower than the cut-off score. The factors affecting physical HRQOL were symptom experience, performance status and smoking history. The factors affecting mental HRQOL were symptom experiences and family income. Conclusions: Symptom experience was a main affecting factor of physical and mental HRQOL. Interventions for relieving symptom experiences should be developed, and performance status, smoking history and financial burden of lung cancer patients should be considered in clinical settings. Relevance to clinical practice: HRQOL may be improved by reducing the level of symptom experience. Healthcare professionals should assess patients’ symptom experience and develop patient-centred symptom management programmes.
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