Quality of Life Concepts

Secondary Health Conditions

Numeric QoL Rating Scale from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (QLQ-C30)

Description: The QLQ-C30 assesses quality of life (QoL) in cancer patients [1].

Format: The QLQ-C30 contains 30 items addressing different dimensions of functioning, as well as concrete symptoms. It includes 9 subscales and 6 single items: 5 functioning sub-scales (physical, role, mental, cognitive, and social functioning), 3 symptom sub-scales (fatigue, nausea/vomiting, and pain), one global QoL sub-scale, and six single items (dyspnea, sleep disturbance, appetite loss, constipation, diarrhea, and financial impact).

Scoring: Each item is scored on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 4 (very much).

Administration and Burden: Not available.

Psychometrics for SCI: Not available; With regard to cancer patients, the internal consistency reliability indexes (Cronbach’s alpha) have been reported as greater than .70 for all except the physical functioning and nausea and vomiting scales. In addition, the scale shows convergent validity, with most within-scale coefficients being higher than .40. Most of the higher item-scale correlations were found within scale, indicating that the scale has discriminant validity.

Languages: The QLQ-C30 has been translated and validated in 81 languages.

QoL Concept: The QLQ-C30 is a Health-Related QoL measure of Subjective Well-Being, which corresponds to Boxes C (achievements) and E (subjective evaluations and reactions) of Dijker’s Model.

Permissions/Where to Obtain: Copyrighted; The QLQ-C30 can be obtained by contacting the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer at http://groups.eortc.be/qol/questionnaires_qlqc30.htm and completing a download request.


  1. Aaronson NK et al. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30: a quality-of-life instrument for use in international clinical trails in oncology J Natl Cancer Inst 1993;85:365-76.


Bowel Dysfunction SCI Studies: One cross-sectional survey.

  1. Noonan VK, Kopec JA, Zhang H, Dvorak MF. Impact of associated conditions resulting from spinal cord injury on health status and quality of life in people with traumatic central cord syndrome. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2008;89:1074-82.

Sensitivity to Impact: Noonan et al. (2008) administered the Numeric Quality of Life (QoL) Rating Scale from the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (QLQ-C30) along with the Short-Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36) to persons with SCI (N = 70) to determine the effect of associated SCI-related secondary health conditions on health status and QoL. Problems with bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction were significantly associated with QoL when personal and confounding factors were not controlled for.

Suggestions for Use: The QLQ-C30 was used to assess the impact of multiple secondary health conditions together, which limits evaluating the appropriateness of this tool for assessig bowel dysfunction impact on QoL. In addition, because this measure was designed for use in cancer patients, further work towards establishing the psychometric properties and clinical utility of this tool for the SCI population is recommended.

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