Conference Contribution Details
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Thomas, Audrey Alforque; Timmons, A; Molcho, M; Gallagher, P; O'Neill, C; Butow, P; Gooberman-Hill, R; O'Sullivan, E; Sharp, L
Irish Cancer Society Survivorship Research Day
Rurality and Quality of Life among Head and Neck Cancer Survivors in Ireland
Dublin, Ireland
Oral Presentation
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Background: Health-related quality of life (QoL), a critical issue for cancer survivors, is related to region of residence. Overall health and wellbeing are traditionally lower in urban areas; however, the literature suggests urban cancer survivors have higher levels of psychosocial wellbeing. The issue of regionality and QoL is particular to each country, and is an emerging topic in Ireland. The present study explores the QoL of head and neck cancer (HNC) survivors in Ireland, paying special attention to region of residence. † Methods: Respondents for the Support Needs of Survivors of Head & Neck Cancer (SuN) survey were identified from the Irish National Cancer Registry. Respondents self-reported QoL using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT) with Head and Neck module. Region is measured by patient-reported area of residence. We used linear regression to estimate the relationship of rurality to total FACT score, as well as FACT domain scores: physical, emotional, functional, and social/family wellbeing, and questions specific to HNC. † Results: The sample includes 583 HNC survivors who were 8 months to 18 years post-diagnosis. Controlling for sociodemographic and clinical variables, HNC survivors living in rural areas have a higher total FACT score than their counterparts in urban areas. Physical, emotional, and functional wellbeing subscale scores and the Head and Neck module score were also higher for rural respondents. † Conclusions: By closely examining regionality, this project provides novel work in the neglected area of cancer survivorship in rural versus urban Ireland. The findings suggest that there is a significant, positive association between rural residence and HNC survivorsí QoL. Understanding how rurality and urbanicity interact with the life experiences of cancer survivors will allow healthcare professionals and policy makers to better serve these populations.
Health Research Board (Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Fellowship)
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