BACKGROUND - Improved survival after childhood cancer has shifted the focus to health-related quality of life (HRQL)-an understudied problem, especially among adolescents.
PROCEDURE - We assessed HRQL among adolescents utilizing a validated self-report tool, the Minneapolis-Manchester Quality of Life (MMQL) Adolescent Form, consisting of 46 items comprising seven domains: physical, cognitive, psychological and social functioning, body image, intimate relations, and outlook on life, and computed an overall QoL score. The MMQL Adolescent Form was administered to 226 adolescent survivors of childhood cancer a median of 7.8 years from diagnosis (off therapy-median age: 16.2 years), 136 adolescent cancer patients undergoing therapy (on therapy-median age: 16.4 years), and 134 healthy adolescents (controls-median age: 15.5 years). Primary diagnoses included leukemia (46%), lymphoma (26%), brain tumors (5%), and other solid tumors (23%).
RESULTS - Compared to healthy controls, on-therapy patients were at increased risk for reporting poor overall QoL [Odds Ratio (OR) = 3.3, P = 0.002)] and poor physical functioning (OR = 11.8, P < 0.001). Off-therapy survivors did not differ significantly from healthy controls for overall QoL (OR = 1.6, P = 0.5) or any HRQL domains. Female patients, both on- and off-therapy, were more likely to report poorer overall QoL, physical, psychological and cognitive functioning as well as poorer body image when compared with male patients.
CONCLUSIONS - While adolescent cancer patients undergoing active therapy report poor physical functioning, there is no evidence of long-term QoL sequelae.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.