The first author dedicates this research to the memory of Heekyoung Kim.
Quality of life of family caregivers of cancer survivors†
Across the trajectory of the illness
Article first published online: 21 APR 2008
Copyright © 2008 American Cancer Society
Supplement: Cancer Survivorship: Embracing the Future
Volume 112, Issue Supplement 11, pages 2556–2568, 1 June 2008
How to Cite
Kim, Y. and Given, B. A. (2008), Quality of life of family caregivers of cancer survivors. Cancer, 112: 2556–2568. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23449
This supplement was sponsored by the American Cancer Society's Behavioral Research Center and the National Cancer Institute's Office of Cancer Survivorship.
- Issue published online: 19 MAY 2008
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 JAN 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 2 JAN 2008
- Manuscript Received: 5 DEC 2007
- American Cancer Society National Home Office, intramural research
- family caregivers;
- illness trajectory;
- quality of life;
- literature review
Cancer affects not only the quality of life (QOL) of individuals with the disease but also that of their family members and close friends. The impact on various aspects of the family caregivers' QOL is significant throughout the trajectory of the illness. The authors reviewed literature on the QOL of family caregivers at the acute and middle- to long-term survivorship phases as well as the bereavement phase.
By using several databases, the authors searched the literature published in English from 1996 through July 2007. Keywords searched included cancer, carcinoma, family, family member, caregivers, and quality of life. Several criteria were used to guide the literature review: Articles had to be published in refereed journals and had to use rigorous methods, sample, and validated measures.
The findings suggested that the QOL of family caregivers of individuals with cancer varies along the illness trajectory. This highlights were importance of assessing the ongoing adjustment of the caregivers over time. However, there were few theory-driven studies, and significant gaps remain in the current understanding of the effects of family caregiving beyond the time of diagnosis and treatment.
Accumulating evidence has supported the concept that cancer affects not only the patients/survivors but also their family members. However, theoretically and methodologically rigorous research on various aspects of the family's QOL, including not only the psychological but also the physical, spiritual, and behavioral adjustment to cancer in the family, remains sparse. Family-based interventions across the trajectory of the illness also are needed. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.