Introduction: Information is limited regarding health-related quality of life (QOL) status of long-term (greater than 5 years) lung cancer survivors (LTLCS). Obtaining knowledge about their QOL changes over time is a critical step toward improving poor and maintaining good QOL. The primary aim of this study was to conduct a 7-year longitudinal study in survivors of primary lung cancer which identified factors associated with either decline or improvement in QOL over time. Methods: Between 1997 and 2003, 447 LTLCS were identified and followed through 2007 using validated questionnaires; data on overall QOL and specific symptoms were at two periods: short-term (less than 3 years) and long-term postdiagnosis. The main analyses were of clinically significant changes (greater than 10%) and factors associated with overall QOL and symptom burden for each period and for changes over time. Results: Three hundred two (68%) underwent surgical resection only and 122 (27%) received surgical resection and radiation/chemotherapy. Recurrent or new lung malignancies were observed in 84 (19%) survivors. Significant decline or improvement in overall QOL over time were reported in 155 (35%) and 67 (15%) of 447 survivors, respectively. Among the 155 whose QOL declined, significantly worsened symptoms were fatigue (69%), pain (59%), dyspnea (58%), depressed appetite (49%), and coughing (42%). The symptom burden did not lessen among the 67 who reported improvement in overall QOL, suggesting that survivors had adapted to their compromised physical condition. Conclusions: LTLCS suffered substantial symptom burden that significantly impaired their QOL, indicating a need for targeted interventions to alleviate their symptoms.
- Health-related quality of life
- Long-term survivors
- Lung cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine