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Ann Oncol. 2002 Feb;13(2):209-17.

Quality of life and rehabilitation in social and professional life after autologous stem cell transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Medicine V, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



In this study, we report on quality of life (QOL) in long-term survivors after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) with special emphasis on rehabilitation in social and professional life.


The European Organization of Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ)-C30 questionnaire was sent by mail to 391 patients 1 to 12 years (median 31 months) after ASCT. The procedure was performed at our institution alone. Of the questionnaires 78% were returned and evaluated.


Of the 238 patients who had an occupation and were employed, 132 (55%) have returned full time (68%) or part time (32%) to their previous occupation. A total of 139 patients (46%) received a 3- to 4-week inpatient rehabilitation treatment in specialised institutions following ASCT. Employment status post-transplantation and QOL were similar in these patients as compared with those who did not participate in rehabilitation programmes. Of the 304 evaluable patients, 39% reported physical problems that reduced their satisfaction with sex and intimacy. The general QOL was significantly reduced in the first year, improved with interval to transplant, and reached the level of the general population after 4 years.


Our retrospective data showed that ASCT has a significant, unfavourable impact on QOL, including reintegration into social and professional life. Most symptoms and scores returned to normal after 3 to 6 years. Employment status and QOL were similar in patients who participated in a rehabilitation programme and those who did not.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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