Health-related Quality of Life, depression and anxiety in thyroid cancer patients

Qual Life Res. 2006 May;15(4):695-703. doi: 10.1007/s11136-005-3689-7.


Objectives: We examined the relationships among physical complaints, health-related quality of life (HRQL), anxiety and depression in differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) patients under short-term hypothyroidism.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 136 patients hypothyroid on thyroid hormone withdrawal (THW) hospitalized for radioiodine administration. Patients were assessed using Short Form SF-36 (SF-36), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Profile of Mood States (POMS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and physical complaints.

Results: Compared to the German general population, hypothyroid patients had significantly impaired HRQL. Surprisingly, the prevalence of anxiety (62.5%), but not depression (17.9%) was much higher in hypothyroid DTC patients than in the general population. In multivariate analysis, depression and age were independently associated with the physical health score (R(2) = 0.21), but only psychological variables (depression, mood disturbance, and anxiety) were associated with the mental health score (R(2) = 0.43), on the SF-36 HRQL instrument.

Conclusions: HRQL is severely impaired in DTC patients under short-term hypothyroidism. As potential predictors of generic HRQL impairment, depression, anxiety, and mood disturbance could be used to preselect the patients most needing psychiatric care. The high frequency of anxiety should be considered in the aftercare of thyroid cancer patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / drug therapy
  • Hypothyroidism / psychology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Thyrotropin / therapeutic use


  • Thyrotropin