Even though the number of long-term cancer survivors is on the rise only few population-based studies have been conducted on the quality of life (QoL) of this subgroup. The CAESAR study was initiated to study QoL in long-term breast, colorectal and prostate cancer survivors.
Material and methods
The study was funded by the German Cancer Aid and conducted by the German Cancer Research Center in cooperation with six population-based German cancer registries. Potential participants were identified by the registries. A questionnaire which included the EORTC QLQ-C30 to assess health-related QoL was mailed to potential participants between 2008 and 2011.
More than 7,000 persons (mean age 69 years) participated in the study. Overall, survivors and references reported comparable global QoL. Nevertheless, survivors experienced more symptoms and functional limitations. Poor social functioning in particular was reported by survivors. Specific symptoms, such as insomnia and diarrhea were also reported to a greater extent by survivors. Breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer survivors reported a comparable global QoL. One of the largest differences was found for social functioning.
The results of the study indicated that even though global Qol is comparable long-term survivors of cancer experience more symptoms and limitations in functioning than references from the general population. Long-term and late effects of cancer and therapy should receive sufficient attention in the care of long-term cancer survivors.