Objectives: To describe the quality of life (QOL) and long-term psychosocial sequelae of women of childbearing age diagnosed with cervical cancer 5-10 years earlier.
Methods: Utilizing a cross-sectional descriptive design, 51 cervical cancer survivors and 50 age-matched controls completed a comprehensive QOL interview.
Results: Participants were predominantly married, non-Hispanic White, with a mean age at diagnosis of 37 years and a mean age at interview of 45 years. This disease-free sample enjoys a good QOL, with physical, social, and emotional functioning comparable to or better than comparative norms. However, certain psychological survivorship sequelae and reproductive concerns persist. Participants reporting good QOL were less likely to report ongoing coping efforts related to having had this illness and were more likely to report greater social support, greater sexual pleasure, and less cervical cancer-specific distress. In a multiple-regression model, cancer-specific distress, spiritual well-being, maladaptive coping, and reproductive concerns accounted for 72% of the variance in QOL scores. Fifty-nine percent of respondents expressed that they would likely participate in a counseling program today to discuss psychosocial issues raised by having had cervical cancer, and 69% stated that they would have attended a support group program during the initial treatment if it had been offered.
Conclusions: This information provides insight into the complex survivorship relationships between QOL and sequelae of cervical cancer for women diagnosed during childbearing years. Therefore, it is important for health care professionals to recognize that aspects of cancer survivorship continue to require attention and possible follow-up care.