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The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between haemoglobin level and quality-of-life in anaemic cancer patients. Patients, diagnosed with one of four cancers, were recruited if their haemoglobin level was <12 g dl(-1) (female) or <13 g dl(-1) (male). The condition-specific Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anaemia and the generic SF-36 were used to assess quality-of-life. Thirty-six per cent of the 179 recruited patients had breast cancer, 28% ovarian cancer, 25% lung cancer, and 11% multiple myeloma. Their mean (s.d.) haemoglobin level was 10.66 (1.04) g dl(-1). Partial correlations controlling for the potentially confounding effects of age, gender, and time since diagnosis found significant positive relationships between haemoglobin and all domains of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anaemia, and with all but two of the SF-36 domains. On linear regression controlling for the same factors, each unit haemoglobin rise equalled an average 8.19 Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anaemia, and an average 6.88 Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue, increase. Haemoglobin accounted for a similar amount of variability (8%) in SF-36 scores. In conclusion, quality-of-life has been found to be significantly positively related to haemoglobin level in anaemic cancer patients. This suggests that normalisation of haemoglobin in cancer patients is likely to increase their quality-of-life. The greater sensitivity of the condition-specific Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anaemia compared with the generic SF-36 suggests that the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anaemia can be used alone to assess quality-of life in this patient group.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1243 - 1249


Adult, Aged, Anemia, Female, Hemoglobins, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Quality of Life, Regression Analysis, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom