Quality of life and psychological well-being in Spanish long-term survivors of Hodgkin's disease: Results of a controlled pilot study
Nowadays, the chemoradiotherapeutic protocols for Hodgkin's disease (HD) achieve high curability rates. Hemato-oncologists focus on both avoiding medical and psychological sequelae of the treatment and returning patients to a normal life. The quality of life and psychological well-being of Spanish patients who are long-term survivors of HD were studied and compared to the results obtained from healthy controls. Questionnaires on quality of life [European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ30] and psychological status [hospital anxiety and depression (HAD) scale] were mailed to HD patients without active disease and free of second malignancies and were also given to healthy controls. Of 67 selected patients (68.6%), 46 were included in this study. The median follow-up for these 46 patients was of 7.6 years (0.8-22.1) after being diagnosed. Although there were no differences between patients and controls with regard to their global state of health and quality of life (72.9+/-22.7 vs 79.3+/-18.7; p=0.22), patients presented a lower physical function (88.2+/-18.1 vs 96.5+/-9.7; p=0.05) and a worse social operation scale (81.5+/-25.4 vs 96.3+/-13.1; p= 0.0015) together with higher symptoms of dyspnea (8.6+/-14.7 vs 0+/-0; p=0.03) and higher economic difficulties (23.1+/-38.3 vs 0.7+/-4.9; p=0.017) when compared with healthy controls. However, we did not find differences in the scores and the proportion of cases of anxiety and depression between the two groups. The quality of life questionnaire disclosed differences between patients and controls in some functional and symptomatic scales. These differences can be read as a consequence of either the disease itself or the treatment received. However, the results of this controlled pilot study should be confirmed in a larger series of Spanish HD survivors. In the future, these results could be a reference when new therapeutic protocols are designed to reduce the impact on the quality of life of the patients. Socioeconomic support to the patients should also be provided in order to improve their medical care.