BACKGROUND: Head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma (HNRMS) survivors are at risk to develop adverse events (AEs). The impact of these AEs on psychosocial well-being is unclear. We aimed to assess psychosocial well-being of HNRMS survivors and examine whether psychosocial outcomes were associated with burden of therapy.
PROCEDURE: Sixty-five HNRMS survivors (median follow-up: 11.5 years), treated in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom between 1990 and 2010 and alive ≥2 years after treatment visited the outpatient multidisciplinary follow-up clinic once, in which AEs were scored based on a predefined list according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events. Survivors were asked to complete questionnaires on health-related quality of life (HRQoL; PedsQL and YQOL-FD), self-perception (KIDSCREEN), and satisfaction with appearances (SWA). HRQoL and self-perception scores were compared with reference values, and the correlation between physician-assessed AEs and psychosocial well-being was assessed.
RESULTS: HNRMS survivors showed significantly lower scores on PedsQL school/work domain (P ≤ 0.01, P = 0.02, respectively), YQOL-FD domains negative self-image and positive consequences (P ≤ 0.01, P = 0.04, respectively) compared with norm data; scores on negative consequences domain were significantly higher (P = 0.03). Over 50% of survivors negatively rated their appearances on three or more items. Burden of AEs was not associated with generic HRQoL and self-perception scores, but was associated with disease-specific QoL (YQOL-FD).
CONCLUSION: In general, HRQoL in HNRMS survivors was comparable to reference groups; however, survivors did report disease-specific consequences. We therefore recommend including specific questionnaires related to difficulties with facial appearance in a systematic monitoring program to determine the necessity for tailored care.