Researchers develop HRQOL outcomes tool

August 4, 2006

Milwaukee -- Because existing health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) tools do not appear to capture patients' specific skin cancer concerns, researchers at Milwaukee's Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center are working to develop a description of the conceptual foundation, item generation, reduction process and reliability testing for the Facial Skin Cancer Index (FSCI), an HRQOL outcomes tool for skin cancer researchers and clinicians.

Milwaukee - Because existing health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) tools do not appear to capture patients’ specific skin cancer concerns, researchers at Milwaukee’s Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center are working to develop a description of the conceptual foundation, item generation, reduction process and reliability testing for the Facial Skin Cancer Index (FSCI), an HRQOL outcomes tool for skin cancer researchers and clinicians.

Participants in phases 1 to 3 of this process consisted of 134 adult patients diagnosed with non-melanoma cervicofacial skin cancer. Data were collected via self-report surveys and clinical records.

Seventy-one distinct items were generated in phase 1 and rated for their importance by an independent sample during phase 2. Following that, 36 items representing six theoretical HRQOL domains were retained. Test–retest I results indicated that four subscales showed adequate reliability coefficients (alpha = 0.60 to 0.91). Twenty-six items remained for test–retest II. Results indicated excellent internal consistency for emotional, social, appearance and modified financial/work subscales (range 0.79 to 0.95); test–retest correlation coefficients were consistent across time (range 0.81 to 0.97; lifestyle omitted).

The researchers conclude that pre-testing afforded the opportunity to select items that optimally met their a priori conceptual and psychometric criteria for high data quality. Phase 4 testing (validity and sensitivity before surgery and four months after Mohs micrographic surgery) for the 20-item FSCI currently is under way.

This research was supported by grants from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute and the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.