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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • oncology;
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplantation;
  • bone marrow;
  • quality of life;
  • psychological adjustment

Abstract

Objective: This article reviews recent literature on adults' quality of life following hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).

Methods: We identified 22 prospective reports with at least 20 participants at baseline through a search of databases (Medline and PsycInfo) and handsearching of articles published from 2002 to October 2007. If longitudinal data were not available or were scarce for a particular topic or time point, cross-sectional studies were reviewed.

Results: Although physical, psychological, and social aspects of quality of life tend to improve during the years following transplantation, a significant proportion of HSCT survivors experience persistent anxiety and depressive symptoms, fatigue, sexual dysfunction, and fertility concerns. Despite ongoing treatment side effects, the majority of HSCT survivors resume their work, school, or household activities.

Conclusion: We conclude that theory-driven research with larger samples is needed to identify subgroups of HSCT survivors with adjustment difficulties. Such research would examine survivors' evolving standards and definitions of quality of life to improve the accuracy and meaningfulness of assessment and incorporate biological, psychological, and contextual factors that may contribute to positive adjustment. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.