Health-related quality of life and health care utilisation among older long-term cancer survivors: a population-based study.Eur J Cancer. 2007 Oct; 43(15):2211-21.EJ
The consequences of cancer and its treatment on health-related quality of life (HRQL) and health care utilisation among elderly long-term cancer survivors have rarely been studied. However, the impact can be different for older compared to younger patients due to the higher prevalence of comorbid diseases, a higher risk of treatment-related complications and because they often receive different therapies compared to younger patients. Therefore, this study addressed the following questions; do HRQL and health care utilisation differ between younger and elderly cancer survivors, and are those differences age or disease related.
A population-based, cross-sectional survey among 1893 long-term survivors of endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was conducted using a cancer registry. HRQL was measured by the SF-36 and health care utilisation was measured with a self-reported questionnaire. Results were compared to a normative population. Patients with disease progression were excluded resulting in a total number of 1112 patients to be analysed.
Young non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivors (<70 years) reported lower vitality, bodily pain and general health compared to the normative population while older (70 years) survivors did not differ from the norm. Young lymphoma survivors experienced better physical functioning compared to older survivors. Young endometrial cancer survivors experienced less bodily pain compared to the normative population while older survivors did not differ from the norm. Young endometrial cancer survivors experienced better physical and role functioning compared to older survivors. Young prostate cancer survivors reported less bodily pain compared to the norm while older survivors did not. Young prostate cancer survivors reported higher scores on physical functioning compared to older survivors. Age, comorbid diseases, educational level and current occupation influenced HRQL significantly. Both younger and older cancer survivors visited their medical specialist, but not their GP, significantly more often compared to the age-matched general Dutch population. Both younger and older cancer survivors only sporadically used additional care services after cancer treatment.
HRQL of older and younger survivors is comparable, with the exception of physical functioning which is lower in older survivors. This difference in physical functioning was probably not caused by cancer because physical functioning among cancer survivors did not differ much compared to an age-matched normative population. Both younger and older long-term cancer survivors visited their medical specialist often but only sporadically used additional care services after cancer treatment.