Background: To compare associations of symptom prevalence, chronic conditions, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) between cancer survivors and non-cancer individuals using the U.S. National Health Interview Survey. Methods: Study samples comprised 604 survivors and 6,166 non-cancer individuals. Symptoms included sensation abnormality, pain, fatigue, cognitive disturbance, depression, and anxiety. Physical and mental HRQOL was measured by the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System. Results: Compared to non-cancer individuals, survivors had higher prevalence in sensation abnormality (OR=2.4; 95% CI=1.9 to 3.0), pain (OR=2.1; 95% CI=1.7 to 2.6), and fatigue (OR=1.4; 95% CI=1.1 to 1.8), and decremented physical HRQOL (difference=-3.7; 95% CI=-4.7 to -2.6). Prevalence of individual symptoms was significantly associated with decremented physical HRQOL (range=-5.9 [anxiety] to -8.9 [pain]) and mental HRQOL (range=-4.7 [sensation] to -8.4 [depression]). Association between cancer experience and physical and mental HRQOL was chiefly explained by the prevalence of six symptoms and presence of chronic conditions. Pain (beta=-4.0; 95% CI=-4.5 to -3.6) and >=2 chronic conditions (beta=-9.2; 95% CI=-10.2 to -8.2) significantly decremented physical HRQOL. Depression (beta=-5.2; 95% CI=-5.8 to -4.6) and >=2 chronic conditions (beta=-3.3; 95% CI=-4.4 to -2.3) significantly decremented mental HRQOL. Conclusions: Cancer survivors experience more symptom burden than non-cancer individuals, which is associated with more chronic conditions and impaired HRQOL. Impact: Interventions to manage symptom prevalence especially for older cancer survivors and survivors with more chronic conditions may improve their HRQOL outcomes.
- Received December 12, 2016.
- Revision received March 7, 2017.
- Accepted March 13, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.