BACKGROUND: Early detection and management of late effects of treatment and their impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) has become a key goal of childhood cancer survivorship care. One of the most prevalent late effects is chronic fatigue (CF). The current study aimed to investigate the association between CF and HRQOL in a nationwide cohort of CCS.
METHODS: Participants were included from the Dutch Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (DCCSS) LATER cohort, a nationwide cohort of CCS. Participants completed the Checklist Individual Strength (CIS) to indicate CF (CIS fatigue severity subscale ≥ 35 and duration of symptoms ≥6 months) and the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) and AZL (Leiden University Medical Centre) Adult's Health-Related Quality of Life questionnaire (TAAQOL) as measures for HRQOL. Differences in mean HRQOL domain scores between CF and non-CF participants were investigated using independent samples t-tests and ANCOVA to adjust for age and sex. The association between CF and impaired HRQOL (scoring ≥ 2 SD below the population norm) was investigated using logistic regression analyses, adjusting for confounders.
RESULTS: A total of 1695 participants were included in the study. Mean HRQOL domain scores were significantly lower in participants with CF. In addition, CF was associated with impaired HRQOL on all of the domains (except physical functioning) with adjusted odds ratios ranging from 2.1 (95% CI 1.3-3.4; sexuality domain) to 30.4 (95% CI 16.4-56.2; vitality domain).
CONCLUSIONS: CF is associated with impaired HRQOL, urging for the screening and regular monitoring of fatigue, and developing possible preventative programs and interventions.