The Health-Related Quality of Life of Children Admitted for Cancer Management

S'thembiso Charles Tembe, Denise Franzsen, Lyndsay Koch, Patricia de Witt



Introduction: South African children with cancer are admitted to specialised oncology units for the duration of their treatment in the public health system. These units are thus a temporary environment for varying periods of time, which disrupts the children’s participation in daily activities and consequently their Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL).

Methodology: A quantitative, descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in a tertiary hospital with a specialist oncology unit in Gauteng to determine the HRQoL of children admitted with cancer from their own and their parent’s perspective. Structured interviews were conducted with the children aged 8-12 years using the PedsQLTM Generic Core Scale (4.0) and Cancer Module (3.0). The parent’s perspective was explored using the Parents proxies form of the PedsQLTM scales.

Results: Twenty-five children and their parents participated in the study. Most children in the sample were males and Leukaemia and chemotherapy being the most common diagnosis and treatment received. All children and parents reported the children’s functioning at an intermediate level on the Generic Core Scale (4.0) and on the Cancer Module (3.0) that schooling and emotional functioning were most affected. This suggests that these children are at risk for HRQoL deficits.  This study also found that parents under- and over-estimated their children’s HRQoL in various domains

Conclusion: This study indicates the need for occupational therapists to understand the occupational disruption experienced by children during the treatment of cancer and monitor and provide support for this, to reduce the effect of impaired HRQoL.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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