Introduction The number of cancer survivors experiencing disease progression (DP) is increasing with the number of cancer survivors. However, little is known whether DP affects health-related quality of life (HRQL) of long-term cancer survivors. We aimed therefore to compare the health status (HS) and HRQL of DP and disease-free (DF) survivors up to 15 years after initial diagnosis. Methods 232 cancer survivors with DP identified through the Eindhoven Cancer Registry were matched with 232 DF survivors of similar demographic and clinical characteristics. Patients completed generic HS (SF-36) and cancer-specific HRQL (QOL-CS) questionnaires 5-15 years after diagnosis. Results Compared with DF survivors, DP survivors exhibited significantly lower scores on all SF-36 and QOL-CS (except spiritual well-being) dimensions. DF survivors had better scores than the normative population on all SF-36 dimensions. Among survivors with DP, those with short survival (<5 years) had significantly poorer HS scores on all dimensions except bodily pain compared with the normative population. Comparatively, the long survival (≥5 years) DP group had better HRQL than the short DP group but poorer HRQL than the normative population. In multivariate analyses, DP and DF survival time were independently associated with aspects of HS and HRQL in cancer survivors. Discussions/Conclusions DP cancer survivors have poorer long-term HS and HRQL compared with DF survivors. However, there is suggestion that HS and HRQL does improve over time following DP. Implication for Cancer Survivors Although DP survivors report poorer long-term HRQL compared with DF cancer survivors, results suggest that time can attenuate the distress of DP on HRQL. Psycho-educational programs could help to increase patients' sense of empowerment and personal control should DP occur.

Cancer, Disease progression, Health status, Long-term survivors, Quality of life, Recurrence,
Journal of Cancer Survivorship
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Thong, M.S.Y, Mols, F, Coebergh, J.W.W, Roukema, J.A, & van de Poll-Franse, L.V. (2009). The impact of disease progression on perceived health status and quality of life of long-term cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 3(3), 164–173. doi:10.1007/s11764-009-0094-1