Evidence shows that survivors of solid tumors have a lower survival rate and shorter disease-free survival time than survivors of leukemia. However, the psychological well-being and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of these 2 groups of cancer survivors have not been compared.
To examine and compare the impact of cancer and treatment-related effects on psychological well-being and HRQOL between survivors of childhood solid tumors and leukemia.
We conducted a cross-sectional study involving 65 Hong Kong survivors of solid tumors and 70 survivors of leukemia aged 8 to 18 years who had their medical follow-up in a pediatric outpatient clinic. Participants’ depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and HRQOL were assessed. Twenty-two survivors of childhood solid tumors and 15 survivors of childhood leukemia were then selected for semistructured interviews.
Survivors of childhood solid tumors reported significantly higher mean scores for depressive symptoms, and lower mean self-esteem and HRQOL scores than survivors of childhood leukemia. Qualitative data revealed that survivors of childhood solid tumors faced more challenges in their daily life than survivors of childhood leukemia.
Survivors of childhood solid tumors reported poorer psychological well-being and HRQOL than survivors of childhood leukemia. This vulnerable group warrants more attention and support.
Implications for Practice
It is vital for healthcare professionals to understand the impact of cancer and treatment-related effects in the context of different types of cancer. This will facilitate development and evaluation of appropriate psychological interventions to promote psychological well-being and HRQOL among childhood cancer survivors.