#21 Clinical Significance of Quality of Life: The Patient Advocate Perspective Cynthia Chauhan,’ Judy Perotzi;2 and Waylund Eppard3 Patient advocates, ‘Wichita, Kansas, 2Chicago, Illinois, and 3Rochestec Minnesota Quality of life (QOL) is significantly affected by life-threatening illness and frequently by the type of treatment used. QOL professionals debate eloquently the different, sometimes conflicting, interpretations of QOL by various cohorts. We suggest that the only QOL interpretation that matters is that of the patient. What then becomes important is not how others evaluate the patient’s QOL but how to help others understand and respond to the patient’s evaluation.
#22 Measuring the Quality of Life of Patients with Breast Cancer Treated with Breast-Conserving Techniques Maria M. Hardy, RN, MSN, Anita Axiak, RN, BSN, Grace Boyea, RN, BSN, Christine Flynn, RN, BSN, Linda Lewis, RN, BSN, and Michelle Wallace, RN, BSN William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan OBJECTIVE: Randomized clinical trials have established the role of breast-conserving therapy (BCT) in stage I and II breast cancer. The purpose of this prospective longitudinal study was to assess and compare the quality of life (QOL) of patients selected to receive 2 types of BCT: external beam irradiation (EBRT) delivered over 7 weeks or brachytherapy (BRACHY) delivered over 4 days. SIGNIFICANCE: To our knowledge, this is the first paper that addresses the issue of QOL as it relates to breast cancer patients undergoing BCT in 4 days versus 7 weeks of external beam therapy. METHODOLOGY: Women in a radiotherapy department of a large urban hospital received the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer 30-item QOL questionnaire (QLQ-C30, Version 2.0). This tool measured functional scales, symptom scales, global health status, distinct single items, and overall QOL before, during, and after treatment. The main research variables consisted of physical, role, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning; fatigue; pain; nausea/vomiting; dyspnea; insomnia; appetite loss; constipation; diarrhea; financial factors; global health; and overall QOL. RESULTS: Sixty women (30 in each arm of the study) completed the questionnaire. EBRT patients demonstrated statistically significant levels of physical functioning before treatment. During the first week of treatment, EBRT patients demonstrated greater physical, role, cognitive, and social functioning and QOL/global health status than did BRACHY patients. At completion, EBRT pa-