Quality of life in childhood cancer survivors

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Abstract

The successful treatment for children with cancer has greatly increased the survival rates for these young people compared to children diagnosed with cancer 30 years ago. These new medical realities direct attention to the psychosocial consequences of successful treatment and subsequent survival. In this paper, quality of life in 176 childhood cancer survivors (age 16–28) is assessed using a survey instrument designed for cancer survivors. In addition, the instrument is evaluated for its utility with this population.

Survivors indicate that symptoms often associated with treatment are at a minimum but that other long-term effects like fatigue, aches, and pain negatively impact quality of life. They rate themselves high on happiness, feeling useful, life satisfaction and their ability to cope as a result of having had cancer but their hopefulness is tempered by uncertainty. Whereas the salience of spiritual and religious activities appears to be low, having a sense of purpose in life and perceiving positive changes as a result of cancer are associated with positive quality of life. A lower valence of physical concerns reflects the vitality and positive life outlook of a young population. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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