Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 49–56 | Cite as

Quality of life in long-term childhood cancer survivors and the relation of late effects and subjective well-being

  • Sigrid Pemberger
  • Reinhold Jagsch
  • Eva Frey
  • Rosemarie Felder-Puig
  • Helmut Gadner
  • Ilse Kryspin-Exner
  • Reinhard TopfEmail author
Original Article



The purpose of the present study was the assessment of health-related quality of life in adult long-term survivors of childhood cancer and the detection of possible treatment- and cancer-related late effects. The relation of objective medical data and subjective appraisal was also examined by combining the doctor’s and the patient’s views of the perceived health status.

Patients and methods

Seventy-eight young adults at the age of at least 18 years who had been diagnosed with cancer in the years 1975–1995 and were off therapy at least 5 years with no evidence of disease participated. Cancer survivors completed self-rating instruments [SF-36 Health Survey, Nottingham Health Profile (NHP), Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI), State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) trait-anxiety scale]; the doctor assessed the patient’s health by means of the Common Toxicity Criteria (CTCv2).

Main results

The cancer survivors showed a mostly higher-than-average positive subjective rating of the various areas of quality of life. In comparison to the general population, the cancer survivors showed lower extents of depression. In 64.1% of the cancer survivors, medical rating and self-assessment regarding the perceived health status corresponded. Cancer survivors who felt severely impaired regarding their subjectively perceived well-being showed worse results in some dimensions of quality of life than persons who subjectively felt mildly impaired. The so-called “unfortunate” persons showed the worst assessment of quality of life and the highest extent of depression and anxiety.


The results of the present study may be helpful in planning an appropriate multidisciplinary, long-term follow-up of childhood cancer survivors.


Childhood cancer survivors Quality of life Late effects Subjective well-being 



The authors thank the Kinder-Krebs-Hilfe for supporting this study and Mrs. D. Rauchenwald and Mrs. G. Sonnleithner for their assistance in patient recruitment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sigrid Pemberger
    • 1
  • Reinhold Jagsch
    • 2
  • Eva Frey
    • 1
  • Rosemarie Felder-Puig
    • 1
  • Helmut Gadner
    • 1
  • Ilse Kryspin-Exner
    • 2
  • Reinhard Topf
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.St. Anna Children’s HospitalViennaAustria
  2. 2.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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