Mental, Physical Late Effects Diminish Health-Related Quality of Life for AYA Survivors

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Younger cancer survivors often face chronic conditions and adverse late outcomes that severely affect their HRQOL.
Younger cancer survivors often face chronic conditions and adverse late outcomes that severely affect their HRQOL.

Some, but not all, adolescent and young adult (AYA) survivors of cancer attain satisfactory health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and those at higher-risk for poor outcomes require more specialized care, according to a study published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

More than 80% of AYA patients survive cancer, but are often burdened with chronic conditions and adverse late outcomes that can severely affect their HRQOL. Further study investigating quality, factors affecting, and psychosocial outcomes of survivorship are needed.


For this study, researchers accessed the Cancer Register Zurich and Zug of Switzerland to identify 155 AYA survivors, who were then instructed to complete the Short-Form 12 (SF-12), a questionnaire composed of the Physical Component Summary Score (physical health) and Mental Component Summary Score (mental health). Results were compared with 350 control participants to determine HRQOL. 

Results showed that survivors had a significantly worse physical health score compared with controls (P <.001).

Male survivors were found to have higher mental health scores compared with controls (P =.078), but females survivors trended toward worse mental health (P =.285).

A multivariate analysis revealed that a migration background and unemployment were predictors of poor physical health, and poor mental health was associated with female sex, suffering from late effects, and migration background. 

The authors concluded that “Results emphasize the need for individualized support services to improve survivors' HRQOL in vulnerable subgroups. We recommend adapted care for women and migrants, in addition to educational and employment support systems.”


Harju E, Roser K, Dehler S, Michel G. Health-related quality of life in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors [published online March 23, 2018]. Support Care Cancer. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4151-z
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