A recent article from the US highlighted the effects of chronic conditions on quality of life among survivors of childhood cancers. Yeh et al (2016) showed that having multiple and severe chronic health conditions reduced quality of life in childhood cancer survivors. One of our recent students (Ramon Tillemans) has just completed a study which also showed that multiple health conditions, among other factors, affects quality of life in childhood cancer survivors in Australia.
Working with data collected as part of the Behavioural Sciences Unit’s Long-Term Follow-Up Study, Ramon sought to understand the factors influencing the quality of life of childhood cancer survivors and parents. Childhood cancer survivors aged over 16 years, and parents of those aged under 16 years, who had completed treatment more than five years ago provided information on socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, as well as quality of life.
Our data from 317 childhood cancer survivors and 153 parents of survivors from 10 Australian and New Zealand hospitals showed that survivors often experienced pain/discomfort, and anxiety/ depression. Both survivor and parent quality of life were heavily influenced by their current health status, but differed with respect to the influence of other factors. Survivors’ quality of life was also affected by prior therapies received, having other health conditions, and their use of financial support. In contrast, parents’ quality of life was affected by private health insurance status, and their child’s quality of life range.
Overall, this project has showed some important similarities and differences about the factors that influence quality of life in childhood cancer survivors and the parents in Australia and New Zealand. Data from this study will continue to accumulate allowing further opportunities to look at outcomes. In the meantime, look out for publications of the full results which are on the horizon.
- Yeh JM, Hanmer J, Ward ZJ, et al. Chronic Conditions and Utility-Based Health-related Quality of Life in Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors. J Natl Cancer Inst 2016; 108.
The Behavioural Sciences Unit is Proudly Supported by the Kids with Cancer Foundation.