Health-Related Quality of Life of Young Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A Review of Qualitative Studies

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Purpose: The occurrence of late effects, combined with traditional growth and developmental issues, can significantly affect the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of young adult survivors of childhood cancer (YASCC). Limited HRQOL measurement tools have been developed or validated for YASCC. The purpose of this study was to identify the domains of HRQOL that are unique to YASCC by conducting a systematic review of qualitative studies. Specifically, we compared the findings to the classical framework of HRQOL that was developed for survivors of adult-onset cancer and identified specific domains not being assessed in existing HRQOL instruments for YASCC.

Methods: We searched qualitative studies published in peer-reviewed journals from 2000 to 2010 in the PsychINFO, PubMed, and EBSCOhost databases. A set of keywords and inclusion/exclusion criteria were utilized to identify eligible studies with a focus on survivorship and HRQOL issues of YASCC.

Results: Sixteen studies met the inclusion/exclusion criteria and were investigated in this study. Six important domains of HRQOL were identified (physical, social, psychological, spiritual, fertility/sexual, resilience, and body appearance) with several sub-domains.

Conclusion: Use of the classical HRQOL framework and existing instruments is not comprehensive enough for YASCC. Adding unique domains to the classical framework and existing instruments will make them valuable tools for measuring the HRQOL of YASCC and increase health professionals' ability to identify if and when psychosocial services are needed for this unique population.

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Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, v. 1, issue 3, p. 124-132

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