Health related quality of life is important in bladder cancer care and clinical decision making because patients must choose between diverse treatment modalities with unique morbidities. A patient reported outcome measure of overall health related quality of life for bladder cancer regardless of disease severity and treatment could benefit clinical care and research.Materials and Methods:
Prospective questionnaire development was completed in 3 parts. In study 1 the BUSS (Bladder Utility Symptom Scale) questions were created by experts using a conceptual framework of bladder cancer health related quality of life generated through patient focus groups. In study 2 patients with bladder cancer, including those treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, completed the BUSS and 5 health related quality of life instruments at baseline and 4 weeks to assess validity and test-retest reliability. External validity was then explored in study 3 by administering the BUSS to 578 patients online and at clinics. Construct validity was assessed by whole and subscale Spearman rank correlations, and by comparisons of BUSS scores across known groups.Results:
The BUSS had high whole scale correlation with the FACT-Bl (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Bladder) (rs = 0.82, p <0.0001) and substantial to high subscale correlations with the EQ-5D™-3L (EuroQol 5 Dimensions Questionnaire-3 Levels) (eg emotional well-being rs = 0.69, p <0.0001). BUSS scores were lower in patients with comorbidity and advanced disease. Cognitive debriefing and the 94% completion rate suggested good comprehensibility. There was excellent test-retest reliability (ICC = 0.79). Limitations included an extended time from diagnosis in many patients.Conclusions:
The BUSS is a reliable and valid patient reported outcome instrument for health related quality of life in all patients with bladder cancer regardless of the treatment received or the stage of disease.