Health-related quality of life in survivors of childhood cancer: the role of chronic health problems

Rueegg, Corina S.; Gianinazzi, Micol E.; Rischewski, Johannes; Beck Popovic, Maja; von der Weid, Nicolas X.; Michel, Gisela; Kuehni, Claudia E. (2013). Health-related quality of life in survivors of childhood cancer: the role of chronic health problems. Journal of Cancer and Survivorship, 7(4), pp. 511-522. Springer 10.1007/s11764-013-0288-4

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INTRODUCTION The influence of specific health problems on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in childhood cancer survivors is unknown. We compared HRQoL between survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings, determined factors associated with HRQoL, and investigated the influence of chronic health problems on HRQoL. METHODS Within the Swiss Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, we sent a questionnaire to all survivors (≥16 years) registered in the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry, who survived >5 years and were diagnosed 1976-2005 aged <16 years. Siblings received similar questionnaires. We assessed HRQoL using Short Form-36 (SF-36). Health problems from a standard questionnaire were classified into overweight, vision impairment, hearing, memory, digestive, musculoskeletal or neurological, and thyroid problems. RESULTS The sample included 1,593 survivors and 695 siblings. Survivors scored significantly lower than siblings in physical function, role limitation, general health, and the Physical Component Summary (PCS). Lower score in PCS was associated with a diagnosis of central nervous system tumor, retinoblastoma or bone tumor, having had surgery, cranio-spinal irradiation, or bone marrow transplantation. Lower score in Mental Component Summary was associated with older age. All health problems decreased HRQoL in all scales. Most affected were survivors reporting memory problems and musculoskeletal or neurological problems. Health problems had the biggest impact on physical functioning, general health, and energy and vitality. CONCLUSIONS In this study, we showed the negative impact of specific chronic health problems on survivors' HRQoL. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS Therapeutic preventive measures, risk-targeted follow-up, and interventions might help decrease health problems and, consequently, improve survivors' quality of life.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Rüegg, Corina Silvia; Gianinazzi, Micol Eva; Michel, Gisela and Kühni, Claudia


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

22 Jan 2014 09:13

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2014 09:51

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