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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2006 Sep 20;4:63.

Health-related quality of life in children with newly diagnosed cancer: a one year follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Psychosomatics and Psychiatry, University Children's Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.



Most studies on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in children with cancer focussed on survivors. Only few studies have evaluated patients during ongoing oncological treatment. The aim of this study was a prospective assessment of HRQOL in children during the first year after diagnosis of cancer and an examination of demographic, medical, and parental predictors of HRQOL.


Fifty-two patients (mean age: 10.9 years) were assessed 6 weeks and 1 year after diagnosis with the TNO-AZL Questionnaire for Children's Health-Related Quality of Life. Parents completed the Brief Symptom Inventory.


Compared to a community sample, patients reported more physical complaints, reduced motor functioning and autonomy, and impaired positive emotional functioning 6 weeks after diagnosis. HRQOL significantly improved over the year. However, at 1 year, patients still showed reduced motor and emotional functioning. At 6 weeks, children with leukemia were most affected. At 1 year, patients with brain tumors complained about more physical symptoms than the other groups. Intensity of treatment and presence of medical complications mainly influenced HRQOL at 6 weeks but less at 1 year. Parental psychopathology was associated with better cognitive functioning in the child.


This prospective study found several domains of HRQOL to be compromised 6 weeks and 1 year after the diagnosis of cancer. Although HRQOL significantly increased over the year, there were important differences between diagnostic groups. The findings highlight the importance of repeated evaluation of HRQOL in children undergoing cancer treatment and consideration of specific differences between diagnostic groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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