Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
ECU Health and Wellness Institute
Background: This longitudinal study describes the five year trajectories of health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) and life satisfaction in long term colorectal cancer survivors.Patients and methods: A population-based sample of 1966 colorectal cancer survivors were surveyed at six time points from five months to five years post-diagnosis. Predictor variables were: socio-demographic variables, optimism; cancer threat appraisal; perceived social support. Quality of life was assessed with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Colorectal (HR-QOL); and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Growth mixture models were applied to identify trajectory classes and their predictors.Results: Distinct adjustment trajectories were identified for HR-QOL and life satisfaction. Lower optimism, poorer social support, a more negative cognitive appraisal, and younger age were associated with poorer life satisfaction, while survivors with less than 8 years of education had higher life satisfaction. This pattern was similar for overall HR-QOL except that educational level was not a significant predictor and later stage disease and female gender emerged as related to poorer outcomes. One in five survivors reported poorer constant HR-QOL (19.2%) and a small group had poor life satisfaction (7.2%); 26.2% reported constant high HR-QOL and 48.8% had high constant life satisfaction. Socioeconomic disadvantage and remoteness of residence uniquely predicted poorer outcomes in the colorectal cancer specific HR-QOL sub domain.Conclusion: Although HR-QOL and subjective cognitive QOL share similar antecedents their trajectory patterns suggested they are distinct adjustment outcomes; with life satisfaction emerging as temporally stable phenomenon. Unique patterns of risk support suggest the need to account for heterogeneity in adjustment in longitudinal QOL studies with cancer survivors.
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