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16.09.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2018

Supportive Care in Cancer 2/2018

Long-term quality of life profile in oncology: a comparison between cancer survivors and the general population

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 2/2018
Maria Antonietta Annunziata, Barbara Muzzatti, Cristiana Flaiban, Katiuscia Gipponi, Carlo Carnaghi, Paolo Tralongo, Michele Caruso, Raffaele Cavina, Umberto Tirelli
Wichtige Hinweise
Maria Antonietta Annunziata and Barbara Muzzatti contributed to the manuscript in equal part, thus they share first co-authorship.



Understanding the quality of life (QoL) of cancer survivors is relevant to both clinical practice and health care policy. The current study compared the QoL profile in this specific population with that of a normative sample for the general population, as well as with those of both healthy and oncological patients normative sub-samples. In addition, associations between the obtained QoL profile and the main socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of the sample were examined.


Three hundred and ninety-two adult long-term cancer survivors (i.e., people 5 + years from their cancer diagnosis who were free from it and its treatments) were enrolled during follow-up visits and compiled the Short Form 36 Health Survey.


In comparison with the normative data for the adult general population, the present sample showed lower scores in Physical functioning, Role-physical limitation, and Role-emotional limitations (all differences were both statistically and clinically significant); the difference in Vitality was only statistically significant. In all eight SF-36 scales, scores of the present sample were clinically and statistically lower than those of the normative healthy subsample, whereas they were statistically and clinically higher than those of normative subsample which had experienced cancer, except for Role-physical limitation. The QoL profile was associated with gender (p = 0.002), age (p = 0.001), education (p < 0.001), occupational status (p < 0.001), and the presence of other health issues (p < 0.001).


These data support the utility of rehabilitative programs which integrate both healthcare and social interventions. In addition, they encourage the monitoring of the health status of this specific population, within a broad frame which simultaneously takes into consideration health and QoL.

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