Long-term cancer survivors (LTCS) are a vulnerable and continued growing population. To date, only few studies have been conducted in the Spanish population; none of them with a comprehensive analysis of the most common problems identified for cancer survivors in order to improve their care and quality of life.
We conducted an observational descriptive study in 347 patients recruited between January 2015 and December 2016 from our newly created medical office for the specific care and follow-up of LTCS. Variables that describe the medical history were completed by the oncologist and measures on common problems previously reported for LTCS, related to cancer diagnosis and treatment, function, lifestyle, and emotional concerns, were collected from the patient.
The mean age of our patients was 65.1 years at the time of the study and a median time without any antitumor treatment of 5.7 years. At the time of cancer diagnosis, 298 patients (85.9%) had at least one related chronic disease and 184 patients (53%) were retired. In addition, in 17.9% of those who continued working, income had been reduced. The incidence of health problems showed an increase during follow-up, even after 5 years, and required evaluation in an emergency department in 157 cases (45.3%). Regardless of age or sex, 239 patients (68.9%) had a significant decrease in sexual activity and 120 (34.6%) were diagnosed with clinical depression.
LTCS are patients with significantly high socioeconomic, labor, sexual, health, and psychological problems, 5 years after completion of cancer treatment, especially in older survivors.
Implications for Cancer Survivor
Common concerns of LTCS were identified and are consistent across many countries. It is important to realize that even 5 or so years following treatment, both medical and non-medical problems can exist and may need attention by an expert.
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Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Long-term cancer survivor
Spanish Network of Cancer Registries
Society of Medical Oncology
Visual analogue scale
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Gallego, A., Martínez, B., Ghanem, I. et al. Cancer survivors referred to a long-term survivorship outpatient service within academic medical oncology: descriptive study. J Cancer Surviv (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11764-020-00973-w
- Long-term Cancer Survivor
- Quality of life
- Care plan