Hematologic malignancies occur frequently in young adults. With treatment, many patients are able to survive. Issues of dependency and peer group membership present unique challenges to this subset of cancer survivors. Interest in cancer survivorship has grown, but little is known about the quality of life (QOL) of young adult survivors.
The objectives of this study were to examine QOL among young adult survivors in relation to middle-aged and older adults, identify common areas of concern, and explore the association of individual characteristics with levels of QOL.
This was a descriptive correlational study using a convenience sample of 48 patients, aged 18 to 35 years at time of diagnosis. Data collection consisted of a 1-time telephone interview utilizing the City of Hope Quality of Life of Cancer Survivors questionnaire and 3 open-ended questions.
No significant correlations were found between QOL dimensions and current age, age at treatment completion, or time since treatment completion. Social well-being was related to age and spiritual well-being to race. A substantial proportion of the sample identified the need for additional education and peer group support.
Results support the importance of developing survivorship programs tailored to the needs of the young adult patient. This may include ongoing opportunities to meet with other survivors and referrals to appropriate support resources. Data suggest that the need for survivorship services exists beyond the first few years after treatment completion.
Young adult patients who may be at higher risk for decreased QOL can be targeted for earlier intervention.
Author Affiliations: Genentech, San Francisco, California, and University Hospitals, Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio (Ms Mattson); and Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Daly and Mrs Demshar).
The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.
Correspondence: Marlana R. Mattson, MSN, ACNP, AOCNP, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 11100 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106 (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
Accepted for publication November 15, 2011.