Background: Childhood cancer survivors are at risk for late effects of disease and treatment that may be attributed to multiple causes. This study describes health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in childhood cancer survivors and identifies factors related to poor quality of life outcomes.
Procedure: Patients age 8-18 years, who attended the long-term information, follow-up, and evaluation (LIFE) clinic at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles during a 1-year time-period were eligible for the study. Eighty-six survivors (mean time off-treatment=7.8 years) completed the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 Generic Core Scales, a LIFE Clinic Intake Questionnaire and rated their fatigue using a 10-point scale. Oncology nurses independently rated subjects' late effects using a 3-point severity scale. Linear regression procedures were used to evaluate the association between demographic and medical factors and HRQOL.
Results: Fatigue and more severe late effects were associated with poorer physical functioning (fatigue, P<0.02; late effects, P<0.01). Fatigue, ethnic minority status, and a brain tumor diagnosis were associated with poorer psychosocial functioning (fatigue, P<0.0001; minority status, P<0.04; brain tumor, P<0.01). Fatigue was the only factor related to both poor physical and psychosocial HRQOL.
Conclusions: Long-term follow-up clinics for childhood cancer survivors are in a unique position to monitor HRQOL over time. Factors associated with poorer HRQOL include fatigue, ethnic minority status, a brain tumor diagnosis, and more severe late effects. Future studies need to clarify relationships between ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and HRQOL in cancer survivors.
Copyright (c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.