Introduction

Over the past 15 years there has been a steady decline in cancer-related deaths in the United States. Although more than a million people are diagnosed with cancer annually, over half are estimated to live at least 5 years beyond their initial diagnosis.1 Roughly 3% of the U.S. population has survived cancer (about 10 million people), with nearly a million of these people living some 20 years after their diagnosis.2 Combined, these trends suggest that more people are living with or beyond cancer than ever before. Despite these promising developments, the quality of a cancer survivor's life remains affected well past the completion of treatment. Health care professionals are continually challenged to better understand how cancer has impacted a person's life and provide assistance in navigating the complex maze often inherent to survivorship.3-6,7-14

Due in part to improved therapeutic agents and supportive care regimens, attention to the enduring effects of cancer and its treatment has grown increasingly over the past two decades. Although empirical studies have documented the delayed negative impact of cancer and its treatment across physical and psychosocial domains, there are several limitations with this body of research. First, few studies have evaluated long-term survivorship (e.g., greater than 10 years). Related to this, little emphasis has been placed on lifespan development as it is affected by cancer. Further, the overall lack of emphasis on positive outcomes that encompass World Health Organization (WHO) criteria (e.g., physical, mental, and social well-being) additionally limits our ability to understand potential personal benefits that might accrue from successful cancer therapy, effectively promoting positive health among survivors. Finally, most previous research has overwhelmingly been retrospective and cross-sectional, without sufficient consideration of internal and external factors such as comorbid physical and mental problems and health care delivery issues ranging from health insurance and employment to disability rights of survivors. Excluding factors such as these has widespread policy-based ramifications in terms of informing best practices and health care delivery improvement as a whole.15

A small but growing body of research has enhanced the understanding of perceived benefits and positive outcomes of long-term cancer survivors and suggests that quality of life (QOL) can be improved through confronting and surviving the normal, often unpleasant sequelae from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. In addition to the assessment of negative aspects of QOL, new approaches have begun to incorporate the measurement of constructs such as positive change, stress-related growth, posttraumatic growth, thriving, and positive benefits.16-18

In this chapter, we define "cancer survivor" according to the definition set forth by the National Cancer Institute's Office of Cancer Survivorship: "an individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, through the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience and are therefore included in this definition."2 This definition is inclusive of people who are currently no longer receiving treatment or have no current or active disease as well as people with advanced stage cancers (e.g., lung and prostate) who may continue to live for a significant period of time as self-identified "disease free" survivors. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the spectrum of health-related quality of life (HRQL) issues cancer survivors commonly encounter with specific focus on the measurement of these issues. State-of-the-art science in this area will be reviewed, including special attention to conceptualization of HRQL domains as well as innovative methodologies and delivery platforms of which members of our research group have contributed significantly. From this synthesis, we will present recommendations for future research directions and applications that can have lasting effects on the well-being of cancer survivors.

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

10 Ways To Fight Off Cancer

Learning About 10 Ways Fight Off Cancer Can Have Amazing Benefits For Your Life The Best Tips On How To Keep This Killer At Bay Discovering that you or a loved one has cancer can be utterly terrifying. All the same, once you comprehend the causes of cancer and learn how to reverse those causes, you or your loved one may have more than a fighting chance of beating out cancer.

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