Assessment of Health-related Quality of Life in Saudi Children with Cancer

Health Serv Insights. 2021 Jul 6;14:11786329211029351. doi: 10.1177/11786329211029351. eCollection 2021.


Advances in pediatric cancer treatment and dramatic improvement in long-term survival have made health-related quality of life (HRQOL) a priority. This study describes the HRQOL of Saudi children on cancer treatment, given the paucity of data on the subject. Parents of children undergoing cancer treatment between the ages of 2 and 12 years enrolled to answer the Arabic version of the parent proxy report PedsQL™ 3.0 cancer module. The module items were reverse-scored to a linear scale from 0 to 100, in which higher scores indicated a better HRQOL. Of the 95 study participants, 61 (64.2%) were hematological malignancies and 34 (35.8%) solid malignancies. The mean score of our sample's total HRQOL was 72.3, which is in line with the results of similar studies worldwide. The lowest scores were observed for procedural anxiety (60.14), perceived physical appearance (67.37), and treatment anxiety (67.58), while the highest were for communication (80.21), nausea (78.32), and cognitive problems (78.32). Significant associations were reported between the patients aged younger than 5 years and procedural anxiety, those aged 5 years or older and perceived physical appearance, and frequent hospital visits and worry. Healthcare professionals should consider the poor HRQOL sub-scales and their associated risks to improve treatment outcomes.

Keywords: Quality of life; Saudi Arabia; cancer module; childhood cancer.