Childhood cancer survivors are at risk for late effects of disease and treatment that may be attributed to multiple causes. This study describes health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in childhood cancer survivors and identifies factors related to poor quality of life outcomes.
Patients age 8–18 years, who attended the long-term information, follow-up, and evaluation (LIFE) clinic at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles during a 1-year time-period were eligible for the study. Eighty-six survivors (mean time off-treatment = 7.8 years) completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Generic Core Scales, a LIFE Clinic Intake Questionnaire and rated their fatigue using a 10-point scale. Oncology nurses independently rated subjects' late effects using a 3-point severity scale. Linear regression procedures were used to evaluate the association between demographic and medical factors and HRQOL.
Fatigue and more severe late effects were associated with poorer physical functioning (fatigue, P < 0.02; late effects, P < 0.01). Fatigue, ethnic minority status, and a brain tumor diagnosis were associated with poorer psychosocial functioning (fatigue, P < 0.0001; minority status, P < 0.04; brain tumor, P < 0.01). Fatigue was the only factor related to both poor physical and psychosocial HRQOL.
Long-term follow-up clinics for childhood cancer survivors are in a unique position to monitor HRQOL over time. Factors associated with poorer HRQOL include fatigue, ethnic minority status, a brain tumor diagnosis, and more severe late effects. Future studies need to clarify relationships between ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and HRQOL in cancer survivors. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2007;49:298–305. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.