Quality of Life (QoL) of bladder cancer patients has been largely neglected. This is partly due to the lack of well-validated QoL questionnaires. The aim of this study is to examine the structural validity, reliability (i.e., internal consistency and test-retest reliability), construct validity (i.e., divergent validity and known group validity) and responsiveness of the Dutch version of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL questionnaire for muscle invasive bladder cancer (EORTC-QLQ-BLM30).
Patients with newly diagnosed muscle invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) participating in the population-based ‘Blaaskankerzorg In Beeld’ (BlaZIB) study who completed the EORTC-QLQ-BLM30 at baseline were included. BlaZIB is a Dutch nationwide population-based prospective cohort study collecting clinical data and QoL data of bladder cancer patients. QoL is assessed with a self-administered questionnaire at four points in time: 6 weeks (baseline), 6 months, 12 months and 24 months after diagnosis. Confirmatory factor analysis and multitrait scaling analysis were used to investigate and adapt the scale structure. Reliability, construct validity and responsiveness of the revised scales were evaluated.
Of the 1542 patients invited to participate, 650 patients (42.2%) completed the QLQ-BLM30 at baseline. The questionnaire’s scale structure was revised into seven scales and eight single items. Internal consistency and test-reliability were adequate for most scales (Cronbach’s α ≥0.70 and intraclass correlation coefficient ≥ 0.70, respectively), with the exception of the revised urostomy problem scale and abdominal bloating and flatulence scale. The questionnaire exhibited little overlap with the EORTC-QLQ-C30: all correlations were < 0.40, except for the correlation between emotional function (QLQ-C30) and future worries (QLQ-BLM30). The questionnaire was able to distinguish between patient subgroups formed on the basis of physical function, but not – as hypothesized– based on stage. Changes in health due to treatment were captured by the questionnaire, indicating that the questionnaire is responsive to change.
This study shows that the adapted scale structure of the EORTC-QLQ-BLM30 generally exhibits good measurement properties in Dutch patients, but needs to be validated in other languages and settings.
BlaZIB, NL8106, www.trialregister.nl