Quality of life, therapeutic ratio and resource costs

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Ideal oncology curriculum > Quality of life, therapeutic ratio and resource costs

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Objective 3.2

At graduation, the student should be able to:

a) understand how quality of life is assessed
b) appreciate the balance of risks and benefits of treatment as a key consideration in making treatment decisions
c) demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of cost effectiveness, cost benefits and opportunity costs
d) demonstrate an understanding of the principles of measurement of quality of life
e) demonstrate an understanding of the concept of therapeutic ratio
f) assess the effects of clinical decisions about treatment on the patient, their family and the health care system in terms of: quality of life; burden of treatment; effect on the disease process; and financial and other costs, including costs to the patient and family associated with patient location v treatment location
g) incorporate measurements of quality of life in assessment of performance status
h) demonstrate an awareness of supportive care networks and how to access and utilise them.


Representative questions that suggest the required depth of knowledge

1. If two cancer treatments such as surgery and radiotherapy give the same survival results for a given cancer, what other issues would you consider in advising which treatment is the better?

Essential in answer:

  • Knowledge of how side effects and quality of life impact on the therapeutic ratio
  • Knowledge of costs/cost benefits/opportunity costs


2. Discuss the common instruments used to measure quality of life.

Essential in answer:

  • Definition of quality of life
  • General knowledge of SF36, FL1C and the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist


3. How does the general quality of a patient’s health impact on their probability of survival when cancer is diagnosed?

Essential in answer:

  • Understanding of measurement of performance status
  • Understanding of impact of performance status on survival
  • Understanding of side effects