Quality of life means different things to different people, but it matters to everyone.

More people are surviving cancer than ever before - but living with cancer, and the effects of its treatment, can have a negative impact on people’s physical, emotional and social wellbeing. 

Public Health England, NHS England and NHS Improvement understand that quality of life outcomes are important to patients, so a nationwide Cancer Quality of Life Survey (QoL) was introduced to help understand what matters most.

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From December 2020, all patients diagnosed with breast, prostate or colorectal cancer in England were invited to complete the Quality of Life survey around 18-months after their diagnosis. This has now been extended to include people with all other cancer types. 

Information collected from the survey will help us to work out how best to support people living with and beyond cancer. This is an ambitious programme not matched anywhere else in the world. It is the first survey to routinely measure quality of life outcomes in a way that influence health policy, professional practice and patient empowerment at a national level. 

We are really keen for health professionals who work with cancer patients to encourage patients to take part in the survey if they are eligible. More information about the survey can be found on the website: www.cancerqoL.england.nhs.uk. There is also a free helpline 0800 783 1775 to support patients to complete the survey and respond to any queries or difficulties.

Patients completing the survey can access their individual summary report showing their quality of life scores in comparison to the general population. These summaries enable patients to have conversations about quality of life and access any further support required.

Early results show that although patients report a relatively high quality of life, it is still slightly lower than the general population. 

An NHS England and NHS Improvement Quality of Life video was released in 2021 to encourage people living with cancer to take part in the survey, this featured a number of people from the patient partnership group in the East of England region. (insert)

Resources are available to help promote and understand the Cancer Quality of Life Survey within hospitals and health care settings. These include posters, social media content, FAQs and a Quality of Life slideset and template. 

There is also a webinar aimed at health professionals and discusses the importance of the Cancer Quality of Life Survey and the launch of the survey data dashboard.