Doctors use performance status to determine whether you are fit enough for stomach cancer treatment.
It is a measure of wellness and can also be used as a research tool, in clinical trials as criteria for entry.
It’s a simple measurement, created by the World Health Organisation and is numbered between 0-5, 0 being fit and 5 when the person has died. It is also known as the ECOG or Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale.
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0 = When you are fit and fully active, as if you didn't have stomach cancer. You are able to carry out all your duties, walk and care for yourself.
1= When you are able to care for yourself and can walk around okay, but not able to do anything too physical.
2 = When you are unable to work, but are out of bed and chair for at least 50% of the day.
3 = When you are in bed or chair for at least 50% of the day and need some help with caring for yourself.
4 = Unable to walk around, need to be in bed or chair and fully dependant on others to look after you.
5 = When death has occured
Oncologists usually use the status scale as a way of deciding if you are fit enough for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery. It is a guide to prognosis as well as a criterion for entry to a randomized clinical trial.
The scale is used in conjunction with other parameters such as co-morbidity (other illnesses you may have such as heart and lung diseases), treatments you have already had as well as your expectations and wishes too.
Its not a perfect scale as it assumes a level of fitness before you had the disease. For example, if you are wheelchair bound it isn't so useful and has to be adapted accordingly.