Health-related quality of life and health care use in cancer survivors compared with patients with chronic diseases

Heins, M et al. Cancer: Early View (Article first published online: 7 JAN 2016)

The number of cancer survivors is steadily increasing and these patients often experience long-lasting health problems. To make care for cancer survivors sustainable for the future, it would be relevant to put the effects of cancer in this phase into perspective. Therefore, the authors compared health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and health care use among cancer survivors with that of patients with chronic diseases.

Patients diagnosed at age >18 years with a cancer with a 5-year survival rate > 20% and no distant metastases at the time of diagnosis and patients aged >18 years with physician-diagnosed somatic chronic diseases without cancer were sent a questionnaire. HRQOL was measured with the RAND-36, a measure of HRQOL. Self-reported health care use was measured for general practitioner care, specialist care, rehabilitative care, physical therapy, ambulatory mental health care, and occupational health care.

A total of 601 cancer survivors and 1052 patients with chronic diseases without cancer were included in the current study. Multimorbidity was observed in 63% of the cancer survivors and 61% of the patients with chronic diseases. The HRQOL of the cancer survivors was significantly better than that of patients with chronic diseases after adjustment for age and sex. For the mental functioning subscale, no significant differences were found between the 2 groups. Cancer survivors were found to be less likely to have visited a general practitioner or cardiologist compared with patients with chronic diseases.

When considering physical HRQOL and health care use, cancer survivors appear to fare better than the average patient with chronic diseases. No difference in mental functioning was observed in the current study.

Read the full article abstract here


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