Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is significantly better for cancer survivors than for persons with chronic diseases without cancer, based on questionnaire responses reported in a study published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer.1

As cancer survivors often experience long-lasting health issues, this study was conducted to provide perspective on the future health care needs of the increasing number of cancer survivors. The study compared HRQOL and health care use among cancer survivors with that of persons with chronic diseases.

The RAND-36, a measure of HRQOL, was administered to 601 cancer survivors and 1052 patients with chronic diseases. Cancer survivors were older than 18 years at diagnosis with no distant metastases and had a 5-year survival rate greater than 20%. The patients with chronic diseases were older than 18 years and had physician-diagnosed somatic chronic diseases without cancer. Multimorbidity was observed in 63% of the cancer survivors and 61% of the patients with chronic diseases.

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Health care use was self-reports measured for general practitioner care, specialist care, rehabilitation care, physical therapy, ambulatory mental health care, and occupational health care.

After adjusting for age and sex, HRQOL of the cancer survivors was significantly greater than that of the cohort with chronic diseases. Cancer survivors were less likely to have seen a general practitioner or cardiologist compared with the persons with chronic diseases. No significant differences in mental functioning were observed between the 2 groups.


1. Heins MJ, Korevaar JC, Hopman P, Donker GA, Schellevis FG, Rijken M. Health-related quality of life and health care use in cancer survivors compared with patients with chronic diseases [published online ahead of print January 7, 2016]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cnccr.29853.