According to the latest study cancer survivors are more likely to report poorer physical and mental well-being, even if they have beaten their disease, compared to those who have never suffered from cancer. The study’s authors found that 24.5% of survivors surveyed reported a low physical quality of life and 10.2% claimed a poor mental quality of life. Of those that had never suffered from cancer only 10.2% reported low physical quality and 5.9% reported low mental quality of life. The author’s noted that survivors “report more functional impairment, poorer health, greater psychological distress, and more mental health needs.”
The survey, conducted by the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, which “tracks trends in illness and disability in the U.S.” spoke with 1,822 survivors and 24,804 adults with no cancer history.
To determine quality of life a 10-item Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health Scale was employed which addresses fatigue, social, physical and mental health and pain. Mean scores for survivors were compared against mean scores for those with no history of cancer.
The study also found that “adult cancer survivors were older, less likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, more likely to be female, reported higher incomes, and had more noncancer comorbidities than adults without a history of cancer,” and that “12% of the survivors reported that they had a recurrence of their cancer.”
This research helps illustrate that even after cancer goes into remission, the survivor has a long road to recovery ahead. The pain and suffering that comes with a cancer diagnosis can leave deep and long lasting scars that need to be addressed by health care professionals if a patient is to regain a high quality of life in recovery.