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SEER Training Modules

Karnofsky Scale

The Karnofsky scale (sometimes called the Karnofsky index) was devised by two American doctors in the 1940s (David Karnofsky and Joseph Burchenal) as an attempt to try and measure the more 'subjective' side of the outcome of cancer treatment.

In fact the scale relates purely to physical ability and covers 11 points, from normal health to death, each scored as a percentage. The scale is:

Physical Ability Percent
Normal health 100%
Minor symptoms 90%
Normal activity with some effort 80%
Unable to carry on normal activity but able to care for oneself 70%
Requires occasional help with personal needs 60%
Disabled 50%
Requires considerable assistance and medical care 40%
Severely disabled, in hospital 30%
Very sick, active support needed 20%
Moribund 10%
Death 0%