Quality of life in long-term cervical cancer survivors: a population-based study

Gynecol Oncol. 2013 Apr;129(1):222-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2012.12.033. Epub 2012 Dec 30.


Objectives: To assess long-term quality of life (QOL) in cervical cancer survivors (CCSs), 5, 10, and 15 years after diagnosis.

Methods: In a cross-sectional population-based study, CCSs diagnosed in 1990, 1995, or 2000 were randomly selected from 3 tumor registries in France. Healthy controls were randomly selected from electoral rolls, stratifying on age group and residence area. Five QOL questionnaires (SF-36, EORTC QLQ-C30, the cervical cancer-specific module (EORTC QLQ-CX24), the MFI fatigue questionnaire, the STAI for anxiety) and a life condition questionnaire were used. Analysis of variance was used to compare QOL scores of survivors by period of diagnosis (5, 10, and 15 years) with those of controls and according to treatment modality, adjusted for socio-demographic data.

Results: A total of 173 localized CCSs (42% treated with surgery alone and 58% with a combination of treatments) and 594 controls participated in the study. Compared with controls, CCSs expressed globally similar good QOL, except for impaired psychoemotional domains in 15-year survivors (p<0.01). Worsening of some symptoms was observed over time, 15-year survivors in particular reported significantly more lymphedema than 5-year (p=0.0009) and 10-year CCSs (p=0.002). Compared with CCSs treated by surgery alone, QOL of CCSs who received radiotherapy was significantly more affected in terms of cervical cancer specific problems, such as sexual dysfunction (p=0.002), voiding and abdominal symptoms (p=0.01), and lymphedema (p=0.01).

Conclusions: Even after 15 years, QOL of CCSs is impacted in psychological domains, compared with healthy controls. Among CCSs, women treated by adjuvant radiotherapy expressed more physical sequelae.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Survivors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / therapy