Background: A series of six manuscripts with an introduction appeared in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, based upon the collective effort of 30 individuals with an interest and expertise in assessing the clinical significance of quality of life (QOL) assessments. The series of manuscripts described the state of the science of QOL assessments in oncology clinical research and practice and included extensive literature and theoretical justification for the continued inclusion of QOL in oncology clinical research and practice. Objectives: The purpose of this paper is to produce a summary of these articles and to supplement these works with additional information that was gleaned from subsequent meetings and discussions of this material. The primary aim of this paper is to present a cogent and concise description for clinicians to facilitate the incorporation of QOL assessments into oncology clinical research and practice. The theoretical discussion is supplemented with an example of how the various ideas can be operationalized in an oncology clinical trial.
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