The impact of cancer and quality of life for long-term survivors

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Abstract

This study reports on health status and quality of life (QOL) outcomes in long-term cancer survivors, and potential correlates including cancer type, age at diagnosis, health status, and key sociodemographic variables.

Method: One hundred and ninety-three cancer survivors 5–10 years post-diagnosis completed a mailed survey assessing physical and mental health status, QOL, post-traumatic growth, and impact of cancer (IOC).

Results: Respondents were comparable to population norms on physical and mental health status. After controlling for sociodemographic and medical status variables, older respondents reported better overall QOL (p=0.004) and mental health (p<0.001), but worse physical health (p=0.04). Survivors reporting low income (p=0.02) and comorbidities (p=0.003) indicated worse physical functioning. A higher negative IOC score was associated with worse physical functioning (p<0.0001), worse mental health (p<0.0001), and lower overall QOL (p<0.0001). A higher positive IOC score was associated with better mental health (p=0.0004) and better overall QOL (p=0.005).

Conclusion: Perceptions of how cancer has affected survivors' lives in both positive and negative ways may influence, or be influenced by, their functional abilities and QOL. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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