RESEARCH – January 2014

Quality of life study of cancer patients in Estonia

Authors: Gerli Paat-Ahi, Riina Sikkut, Vootele Veldre

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Background. Each year, about 7,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed, with an estimated total of 40,000 cases. The diagnoosis of cancer strongly inf luences both the person’s life in general and the perceived quality of life.

Objective. The objective of the study was to identify the cancer patient’s perceived quality of life and the factors influencing it in Estonia.

Methods. The study targeted all persons who have been diagnosed with cancer and who are currently residing in Estonia. The study subjects had to complete the WHOQOLBREF quality of life test questionnaire. A total of 513 questionnaires were completed.

Results. According to the results of the survey, among the major factors contributing to the patient’s assessments of the quality of life were their physical health and presence of comorbidities. The highest estimates were obtained for social relationships. Moreover, the study showed that assessments of the quality of life are also influenced by personal beliefs and socioeconomic characteristics such as educational level and social status.

Conclusions. The perceived quality of life of persons with the diagnosis of cancer is most affected by their physical health as well as by presence of comorbidities, duration of active treatment, and pain, etc. Cancer diagnosis has much less effect on social relationships and living environment.