Context: Little is known about long-term quality of life (QoL) of survivors of pediatric differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate generic health-related QoL (HRQoL), fatigue, anxiety, and depression in these survivors compared with matched controls, and to evaluate thyroid cancer-specific HRQoL in survivors only.
Design: Survivors diagnosed between 1970 and 2013 at age ≤18 years, were included. Exclusion criteria were a follow-up <5 years, attained age <18 years, or diagnosis of DTC as a second malignant neoplasm (SMN). Controls were matched by age, sex, and socioeconomic status. Survivors and controls were asked to complete 3 questionnaires [Short-Form 36 (HRQoL), Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory 20 (fatigue), and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (anxiety/depression)].Survivors completed a thyroid cancer–specific HRQoL questionnaire.
Results: Sixty-seven survivors and 56 controls. Median age of survivors at evaluation was 34.2 years (range, 18.8 to 61.7). Median follow-up was 17.8 years (range, 5.0 to 44.7). On most QoL subscales, scores of survivors and controls did not differ significantly. However, survivors had more physical problems (P = 0.031), role limitations due to physical problems (P = 0.021), and mental fatigue (P = 0.016) than controls. Some thyroid cancer-specific complaints (e.g., sensory complaints and chilliness) were present in survivors. Unemployment and more extensive disease or treatment characteristics were most frequently associated with worse QoL.
Conclusions: Overall, long-term QoL in survivors of pediatric DTC was normal. Survivors experienced mild impairment of QoL in some domains (physical problems, mental fatigue, and various thyroid cancer-specific complaints). Factors possibly affecting QoL need further exploration.