Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood cancer survivors suffer long-term symptoms linked to poor quality of life

Date:
December 12, 2013
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
Due to improved treatments and technologies, more children than ever are surviving cancer. Unfortunately, about 70 percent of these children experience late effects from their disease and treatment 30 years after their cancer diagnosis, which researchers say significantly impact their quality of life.

Due to improved treatments and technologies, more children than ever are surviving cancer. Unfortunately, about 70 percent of these children experience late effects from their disease and treatment 30 years after their cancer diagnosis, which University of Florida Health researchers say significantly impact their quality of life.

"The prevalence of these symptoms accounts for a huge variance in physical, mental and social domains of quality of life among survivors," said I-Chan Huang, Ph.D., an associate professor of health outcomes and policy in the UF College of Medicine and the lead author of the study. "If we think symptoms are the key to patients' quality of life, then if we can better manage their symptoms, we can improve their daily functional status and quality of life."

Huang, also a member of UF's Institute for Child Health Policy, teamed with researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis to conduct the study, which was published in the Nov. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The researchers analyzed data from 1,667 childhood cancer survivors who participated in a St. Jude study looking at the long-term effects of cancer survival. The researchers used a patient-reported survey to measure quality of life. A specific symptom scale was designed to assess toxicities related to cancer treatment, as outlined in the Children's Oncology Group guidelines.

The most common symptoms patients reported were head pain, pain in the back and neck, pain in areas other than the back and neck, disfigurement such as hair loss and sensation abnormalities.

According to the research findings, participants' ratings of their own physical and mental quality of life dipped lower and lower for each additional symptom they reported. Participants also reported more symptoms over time, with survivors reporting late effects up to 40 years after they were initially diagnosed with cancer. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, approximately one in every 600 adults between the ages of 20 to 39 is a survivor of childhood cancer.

About 70 percent of participants reported experiencing at least one late effect from their cancer.

One-quarter of participants reported experiencing six or more late effects.Because the study did not account for fatigue or sleep disturbances, the actual percentage of survivors who experience late effects from cancer that affect quality of life could be even higher, Huang said.

The next step, Huang noted, is developing a tool kit to help physicians use this information in practice to help cancer survivors improve their quality of life. Although tools have been devised to make it easier for doctors to measure a patient's quality of life when they visit the doctor, physicians often don't know what to do with this information.

Because of this uncertainty and limited time and staff, only 16 percent of clinicians use quality of life measures in practice, according to a recent national survey Huang conducted on pediatricians' and subspecialists' attitudes and the barriers to assessing pediatric quality of life. Helping physicians calculate and interpret quality-of-life scores and better use this data to communicate with patients in decision-making processes is important, because the measures take into account health issues that affect patients' day-to-day lives.

"We need to provide clear guidance about quality of life and a different structure to use patient-reported outcomes in clinical settings," Huang said. "The critical step is to develop a methodology to diagnose quality of life of individual cancer patients or survivors. We are working to develop a diagnostic classification system by focusing on individualized attributes of poor quality of life; symptoms are one of the key, proximal attributes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. The original article was written by April Frawley Birdwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I-Chan Huang, Tara M. Brinkman, Kelly M. Kenzik, James G. Gurney, Kirsten K. Ness, Jennifer Lanctot, Elizabeth A. Shenkman, Leslie L. Robison, Melissa M. Hudson, Kevin R. Krull. Association between the prevalence of symptoms and health-related quality of life in adult survivors of childhood cancer: A report from the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, November 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "Childhood cancer survivors suffer long-term symptoms linked to poor quality of life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212160343.htm>.
University of Florida. (2013, December 12). Childhood cancer survivors suffer long-term symptoms linked to poor quality of life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212160343.htm
University of Florida. "Childhood cancer survivors suffer long-term symptoms linked to poor quality of life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212160343.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins