The well-being of long-term cancer survivors.

TitleThe well-being of long-term cancer survivors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSullivan, J, Snider, JThornton, van Eijndhoven, E, Okoro, T, Batt, K, DeLeire, T
JournalAmerican Journal of Managed Care
ISSN Number1936-2692
KeywordsCancer, Long-term Care, Longevity, Survival

OBJECTIVES: To compare the well-being of long-term cancer survivors with that of US residents of similar age and demographic characteristics, patients recently diagnosed with cancer, and individuals with chronic illness.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective observational study.

METHODS: Using the Health and Retirement Study, a survey of US residents older than 50 years, we defined 4 cohorts: long-term cancer survivors (>4 years post diagnosis), individuals recently diagnosed with cancer (≤4 years post diagnosis), individuals with chronic illness, and US residents older than 50 years ("nationally representative cohort"). Well-being measures included self-reported health, utility, happiness, medical utilization and spending, employment, and earnings, and these measures were compared across cohorts, adjusting for survey year, demographic characteristics, smoking, and number of comorbidities. We imputed medical spending using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

RESULTS: Long-term cancer survivors fared significantly better than those recently diagnosed with cancer, those with chronic illness, and individuals in the nationally representative cohort in the majority of well-being measures (P <.05), including fewer doctor visits, hospitalizations, and hospital nights; better utility and self-reported health; and greater likelihood of employment. Long-term cancer survivors had lower healthcare spending than those recently diagnosed with cancer (P <.01) and significantly greater happiness than the nationally representative cohort and those with chronic illness (P <.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Although patients with cancer experience diminished well-being in the short term across a variety of measures, in the long term, cancer survivors do as well as or better than US residents of similar age and demographic characteristics. This finding is striking given that one might expect long-term cancer survivors to do worse than similar individuals without a history of cancer.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalAm J Manag Care
Citation Key9739
PubMed ID29668209