Patient Reported Outcomes

Patient Reported Outcomes

Understanding what happens to patients who are treated with radiotherapy

Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) are recognized as an essential component to supporting improved quality of life and survivorship for those undergoing cancer treatment. While PRO can be used to assess the impact cancer treatment has on a patient’s quality of life and well-being, they can also be used to help understand how specific treatments, such as radiotherapy, can affect a patient by helping to identify symptoms and toxicity they experience throughout their care. In 2017 CPQR launched an initiative to support the increased use of PRO in routine clinical care across Canada.

What has been done

From 2017-2019 CPQR supported the translation of BC Cancer’s Prospective Outcomes and Support Initiative (POSI) to other RT programs across the country.  POSI was seen as a program to emulate due to its nimble “real time” approach to the collection and review of PRO during patient encounters and adaptability for programs with limited resources.  Today a POSI model is being integrated into centres affiliated with Dalhousie University Department of Radiation Oncology and being considered by centres across the country.  This piloting will continue to be undertaken through centre leadership and monitored by CPQR.

Building on the success of its prior guidance documents, CPQR is developing a set of guidance recommendations around the collection and use of PRO for radiation treatment that reflects community best practice.  A series of comprehensive guided interviews were conducted during 2018 and will help inform the development of the guidance document entitled “Guidance on the use of patient reported outcomes for Canadian radiation treatment programs,” which can be expected by year end!

What will be done next

CPQR is investigating opportunities to support a consistent approach to “what PRO measures” should be used for specific types of cancer. Through a unique partnerhship with Cancer Care Ontario’s PROs Advisory Committee (PROsAC), CPQR will help identify and recommend measures appropriate for RT specific PRO programs.  The CPQR-endorsed PRO measure list below will be expanded as this process evolves.

CPQR-endorsed measures for patient reported outcomes

Disease site PROM

Head and Neck Cancer


MD Anderson Symptom Inventory for Head and Neck (MDASI-HN)
Bone Metastasis Brief Pain Inventory


Building on a robust measure selection process developed by Cancer Care Ontario, CPQR