Associations in health-related quality of life between patients and family caregivers 1 year after oesophageal cancer surgery

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2023 Feb:62:102235. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2022.102235. Epub 2022 Nov 3.


Purpose: Whether patients' health-related quality of life (HRQL) influences the HRQL of their family caregivers remains to be clarified. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the association in HRQL between patients and family caregivers one year after oesophageal cancer surgery.

Methods: The study was based on a prospective, nationwide, and population-based cohort including patients treated by surgery for oesophageal cancer in Sweden from 2013 to 2021 and their family caregivers. Data were collected one year after surgery, using the summary score of the EORTC QLQ-C30 and the RAND-36 questionnaire. Univariate and multivariate linear regression models providing regression coefficients with confidence intervals (CI) were used to estimate the association between the HRQL among patients and family caregivers. The analyses were adjusted for potential covariates.

Results: In total, 275 patients and paired family caregivers were included in the study. Patients reported a mean HRQL summary score of 81.4, indicating reductions in functions as well as many burdensome symptoms. Among family caregivers, lowest HRQL scores were reported for pain (69.2 ± 26.0) and energy/fatigue (65.1 ± 20.4). A 10-point change in the patients' summary score corresponded to a 7-point change for family caregivers' emotional role function (β = 7.0; 95% CI: 3.6-10.3). For other HRQL dimensions among the family caregivers, no clinically relevant associations with patients HRQL were found.

Conclusion: The current study indicates that family caregivers' emotional role function is influenced by patients' overall HRQL one year after surgery. The finding suggests that follow-up interventions should include not only patients but also their family caregivers.

Keywords: Cancer surgery; Cancer survivorship; Family caregivers; Health-related quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires