ORIGINAL ARTICLE SURVIVAL IN PATIENTS WITH NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER WHO OPTED OUT OF CANCER-SPECIFIC THERAPY|
Loh, Li-Cher; Tan, Ru-Yu; Chan, Li-Yen; Govindaraju, Selvaratnam; Ratnavelu, Kananathan; Kumar, Shalini; Raman, Sree; Vijayasingham, Pillai & Thayaparan, Tamizi
In Malaysia, many patients opted out of cancer-specific treatment for various reasons. This study was undertaken to investigate the survival rate of patients with stages I to III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who opted out of treatment, compared with those who accepted treatment. Case records of 119 patients diagnosed with NSCLC between 1996 and 2003 in two urban-based hospitals were retrospectively examined. Survival status was ascertained from follow-up medical clinic records or telephone contact with patients or their next-of-kin. Median (25-75% IQR) survival rate for 79 patients who accepted and 22 patients who opted out of treatment, were 8.6 (16.0-3.7) and 2.2 (3.5-0.8) months respectively [log rank p< 0.001, Kaplan-Meier survival analysis]. Except for proportionately more patients with large cell carcinoma who declined treatment, there was no significant difference between the two groups in relation with age, gender, ethnicity, tumour stage, and time delays between symptom onset and treatment or decision-to-treat. We concluded that there was a small but significant survival benefit in accepting cancer-specific treatment. The findings imply that there is no effective alternative therapy to cancer-specific treatment in improving survival. However, overall prognosis for patients with NSCLC remains dismal.
non-small cell lung cancer, survival, cancer-specific treatment, Malaysia