Factors associated with poor quality of life among cervical cancer survivors: implications for clinical care and clinical trials

Gynecol Oncol. 2014 Nov;135(2):266-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.08.036. Epub 2014 Sep 3.


Introduction: The purpose of this study is to identify factors that are associated with poor quality of life (QOL) among cervical cancer survivors.

Methods: Patients identified through the California Cancer Registry were recruited to participate in a randomized counseling intervention. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were collected at study baseline (9-30 months post-diagnosis) and subsequent to the intervention. Multivariable linear models were used to identify independent factors associated with poor baseline QOL.

Results: Non-Hispanic (N=121) and Hispanic (N=83) women aged 22-73 completed baseline measures. Approximately 50% of participants received radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy. Compared to the US population, cervical cancer patients reported lower QOL and significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety (26% and 28% >1 SD above the general population means, respectively). Among those in the lowest quartile for QOL, 63% had depression levels >1 SD above the mean. In addition, treatment with radiation±chemotherapy (p=0.014), and self-reported comorbidities predating the cancer diagnosis (p<0.001) were associated with lower QOL. Sociodemographic characteristics explained only a small portion of variance in QOL (r(2)=0.23). Persistent gynecologic problems, low social support, depression, somatization, less adaptive coping, comorbidities, sleep problems and low education were all independently associated with low QOL in multivariate analysis (r(2)=0.74).

Conclusion: We have identified key psychological and physical health factors that contribute significantly to poor quality of life subsequent to definitive cancer treatment. The majority of these factors are amenable to supportive care interventions and should be evaluated at the time of primary treatment.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; Clinical trial; Patient-reported outcomes; Symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Asian Americans / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Educational Status
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Outcome Assessment*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Radiotherapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Social Support
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents