Quality of life varies for cancer survivors, study determines
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Friday, November 09, 2012
11/09/12 at 2:49 AM
A recent study showed that cancer survivors had a lower health-related quality of life than non-cancer survivors and that quality depended on what type of cancer they had.
Researchers looked at more than 1,800 cancer survivors and nearly 25,000 non-cancer survivors and found that 24.5 percent of those who had cancer reported poor physical health-related quality of life and 10.1 percent reported poor mental health-related qualify of life.
That compares to 10.2 percent and 5.9 percent among non-cancer survivors.
Those with breast, prostate and melanoma cancers reported quality of life similar to that of people without cancer, but those with cervical, colorectal, hematologic and short-survival cancers reported worse quality of life, according to the study.
Dr. Theodore W. Pollock, director of medical oncology and vice chief at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, said more people are living longer after cancer and they sometimes have complications like fibrosis, cognitive difficulties and sexual dysfunction.
"Many patients won't bring these up so they have to be asked specifically if they're having problems," he said.
At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, psychologists and other health professionals work with patients on what they call mind-body medicine.
They focus on emotional well-being during and after treatment. They are included in follow-up visits that survivors make to the center every few months.
"We actually address the emotional aspects of what a patient is experiencing," Pollock said.
Most patients should return to a normal lifestyle, he said.
After treatment, patients return every two to three months for a few years for follow-ups. They are assessed for mental as well as physical health, he said.
Suzanne Bonner was diagnosed with colon cancer in April 2007. She was treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and her scans have been clean since January 2008.
She goes back about every six months for tests and scans. She sees all her doctors every visit, including a nutritionist, a naturopath and her mind-body specialists. They allow her to express her feelings and vent when she needs to, she said.
"I just need somebody to bring me back down to earth and keep me centered," she said.
Bonner said she thinks many cancer survivors can have a good quality of life.
There is life after cancer and people should make the best of it, she said.
"I'm not going to waste the gift that was given to me," she said. "They worked hard to keep me alive. I worked hard to keep me alive."
Original Print Headline: Study: Quality of life for cancer survivors varies
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378