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Health-Related Quality of Life in Childhood Cancer

Fakhry, Hala MD*; Goldenberg, Matthew DO; Sayer, Gregory MD; Aye, San San MD§; Bagot, Kara MD; Pi, Sarah BS; Ghazzaoui, Rassil MA**,††; Vo, Ngoctram DO§,‡‡; Gowrinathan, Shanthi MD‡,§; Bolton, Michael MD§§; IsHak, Waguih William MD, FAPA‡,§

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: July/August 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 6 - p 419–440
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e31828c5fa6
Review Article

Objective: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has become an increasingly important measure of research and treatment outcomes across all medical specialties. However, to date, there has not been an in-depth review of research relevant specifically to HRQoL in the populations of children and adolescents with cancer. In this review, the authors examine the effects of cancer on HRQoL from diagnosis to remission/survivorship and the end of life.

Design: A literature search was conducted using Medline and PsycINFO for articles published from 2002 to 2011. Studies included patients from diagnosis to remission and also the terminally ill. Twenty-nine studies specifically addressing HRQoL were selected after reaching consensus and study quality check.

Results: Children who are newly diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment or are terminally ill have impaired HRQoL. Survivors of childhood cancer have high HRQoL (with the exception of those who experienced medical comorbidity or PTSD). The authors found that demographic differences, cancer types, and treatment regimens, all significantly influence the negative impact of cancer on patients’ HRQoL.

Conclusions: There are specific and identifiable impacts of childhood cancer on patients’ HRQoL that are significant and complex across the span of the illness. There is a need for continued research in many areas related to this population, especially related to those with terminal illness in order to improve patient care.

*Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt;

Department of Psychiatry, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ;

Department of Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA;

§Department of Psychiatry, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA;

Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT;

University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA;

**Department of Psychology at Columbia University, New York, NY;

††American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon;

‡‡Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Irvine, CA;

§§Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Address for reprints: Waguih William IsHak, MD, FAPA, Department of Psychiatry, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 8730 Alden Drive, Thalians W-157, Los Angeles, CA 90048; e-mail:

Disclosure: None of the authors have a conflict of interest in the conduct and reporting of this review except for Dr. IsHak who has received grants not associated with this manuscript as listed below: NARSAD on Quality of Life in Major Depression, Pfizer Ziprasidone Monotherapy in Major Depression that ended on December 31, 2011.

Received October , 2012

Accepted February , 2013

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins