OBJECTIVE - To assess the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of 8- to 12-year-old children undergoing therapy for cancer or childhood-cancer survivors by using the Minneapolis-Manchester Quality of Life-Youth Form (MMQL-YF), a comprehensive, multidimensional self-report instrument with demonstrable reliability and validity.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS - The MMQL-YF consists of 32 items comprising 4 scales: physical functioning, psychologic functioning, physical symptoms, and outlook on life. Scoring on the MMQL ranges from 1 to 5; 5 indicates maximal HRQL. An overall quality-of-life (QOL) score is also computed. By using a cross-sectional study design, the MMQL-YF was administered to 90 off-therapy cancer survivors, 72 children with cancer undergoing active therapy, and 481 healthy children without a history of cancer or other chronic disease.
RESULTS - Compared with healthy controls, children actively undergoing cancer treatment report low overall QOL, physical functioning, and outlook-on-life scores. However, off-therapy survivors report a superior overall QOL, compared with age-matched healthy controls.
CONCLUSIONS - Young survivors of childhood cancer report a favorable HRQL relative to healthy controls. These results are reassuring, suggesting that this group of survivors may have been too young to encounter some of the negative psychosocial impacts of cancer and its treatment.