Benefit finding and post-traumatic growth in long-term colorectal cancer survivors: prevalence, determinants, and associations with quality of life

Br J Cancer. 2011 Oct 11;105(8):1158-65. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.335. Epub 2011 Aug 30.


Background: As research on quality of life of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors has mainly focused on downsides of cancer survivorship, the aim of this study is to investigate benefit finding (BF) and post-traumatic growth (PTG) in long-term CRC survivors.

Methods: Benefit finding, PTG, and quality of life were assessed 5 years after diagnosis in a population-based cohort of 483 CRC patients using the benefit finding scale, the post-traumatic growth inventory, and the EORTC QLQ-C30. Prevalence of BF and PTG, determinants of moderate-to-high BF and PTG, and the association between BF, PTG, and quality of life were investigated.

Results: Moderate to high levels of BF and PTG were experienced by 64% and 46% of the survivors, respectively. Survivors with the highest level of education and with higher depression scores reported less BF and PTG. The PTG increased with increasing stage and self-reported burden of diagnosis. Quality of life only correlated weakly with PTG (Pearson's r=0.1180, P=0.0112) and not with BF (r=0.0537, P=0.2456).

Conclusion: Many long-term CRC survivors experience BF and PTG. As these constructs were not strongly correlated with quality of life, focusing solely on quality of life after cancer misses an important aspect of survivorship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors*