Survivors of many common cancers enjoy a mental and physical health-related quality of life equal to that of adults who have not had cancer, but survivors of other cancers are in poorer health, according to results published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
"We did not have a good sense of how cancer survivors across the United States were faring after their cancer diagnosis and immediate treatment," said Kathryn E. Weaver, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. "We set out to address this issue by estimating the number and percent of cancer survivors in the United States with poor physical and mental health and compared them to adults who have never had a cancer diagnosis."
Weaver and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, a large survey conducted by the CDC to track trends in illness and disability in the United States. They identified a cohort of 1,822 cancer survivors and compared them with 24,804 adults with no history of cancer.
Patient-reported, health-related quality of life was assessed using the 10-item Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health Scale (PROMIS Global 10). This tool allows researchers to measure, from the patient perspective, health outcomes like physical functioning, depression, pain and fatigue.
After adjusting for gender, race/ethnicity, education and other medical conditions, it was found that the most recent form of cancer a patient was diagnosed with was significantly related to health-related quality of life. Survivors of breast cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma had a health-related quality of life equivalent to or better than adults with no cancer history.