Longitudinal studies addressing change in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) following a diagnosis of cancer have mainly focused on a single cancer type, and little is known about the differences in HRQoL over time according to the type of tumor. The current study aims to compare the change in HRQoL over 2 years following breast cancer or melanoma diagnosis and socio-demographic variables associated with HRQoL over time.
Patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer (n = 215) or melanoma (n = 78) completed surveys within 1 month of diagnosis and 6, 12, and 24 months later. Multilevel modeling analyses were used to compare the evolution over time of HRQoL dimensions, as measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30, in both cancers. Longitudinal effect of socio-demographic variables on HRQoL was also assessed.
Consistent with the literature, both cancer patients experienced decreased HRQoL scores following the diagnosis before improving over time. However, our analyses revealed that this rebound effect may occur at diverse times over the course of the illness according to the type of cancer. In addition, HRQoL over time was positively associated with age and negatively related to living with a partner regardless of the type of cancer.
The results of the present study suggest that support in hospital units should be specific and depend on the cancer type.