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Cancer Survivors Face Quality of Life Hurdles

Cancer survivors may have beat the disease, but new research shows many of them experience lower quality of life afterward. A national survey found that nearly 25 percent of cancer survivors said they had poor physical health, while more than 10 percent said they had a lower mental quality of life.

The study, out of Wake Forest's School of Medicine, was based on the responses of more than 1,800 cancer survivors and 24,800 people who have not had cancer. Compared to survivors, the general population experiences much fewer quality of life issues, with just 10.2 percent reporting problems with physical health and 5.9 percent reporting problems with mental health.

"This information should help doctors and researchers identify groups of survivors who may be at risk for long-term problems after cancer," said Kathryn Weaver, the study's lead author. "In addition, it can help us know if some of the national efforts to improve life for cancer survivors are making a difference."

The findings may also help home care providers better understand their patients. Recognizing physical and mental challenges can allow them to better target their care and assistance.

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