Purpose: Patients with thyroid cancer are often assumed to have no quality of life (QOL) impairments after treatment because of thyroid cancer's good prognosis. However, the QOL implications of surgical complications and the necessity to take lifelong medication are seldom assessed.
Methods: Patients who had surgery due to thyroid cancer at the University Medical Center Mainz between 2010 and 2015 and who had calcium or parathyroid hormone levels below the reference values immediately following surgery were eligible for this study. QOL was assessed using the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the thyroid cancer module EORTC QLQ-THY34. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with a worse QOL compared with a general population.
Results: A total of 75 (56%) of 134 eligible patients participated in the study. Patients with persistent/prolonged calcium or vitamin D intake reported worse QOL in the domains of global health, physical functioning, role functioning, emotional functioning, and insomnia than patients without current intake. Current calcium and vitamin D intake, higher education, living with a partner, and age had an effect on the odds of having worse QOL than the age- and sex-adjusted general population.
Conclusion: Prolonged calcium and/or vitamin D intake are negatively associated with certain domains of QOL in thyroid cancer patients who are at least 1 year post surgery. Assessment of calcium and vitamin D and diagnosis of hypoparathyroidism are therefore important for the follow-up of thyroid cancer survivors since it may affect their QOL.
Keywords: Calcium; Quality of life; Thyroid cancer; Vitamin D.