Factors Affecting Health-Related Quality of Life in Children Undergoing Curative Treatment for Cancer: A Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Background:

Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important measure to evaluate a child's reported treatment experience. Although there are numerous studies of HRQoL in children undergoing curative cancer treatment, there is limited literature on factors that influence this.

Objective:

To review published studies that describe the HRQoL and associated factors in children undergoing curative cancer treatment.

Method:

Full-text publications in English from January 2005 to March 2013 were searched in PubMed, PsychINFO, and CINAHL for children ≤18 years of age undergoing curative cancer treatment. HRQoL-associated factors were categorized as cancer diagnosis, treatment, child, family, and community.

Results:

Twenty-six studies met the inclusion criteria. The most frequently used generic and cancer-specific instruments were PedsQL (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory) Generic and PedsQL Cancer, respectively. Cancer diagnosis and treatment were the most frequently identified variables; fewer studies measured family and community domains. Gender, treatment intensity, type of cancer treatments, time in treatment, and cancer diagnosis were correlated with HRQoL.

Conclusion:

Our study highlights the need to develop interventions based on diagnosis and treatment regimen to improve the HRQoL in children undergoing curative cancer treatment.

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