Health status and health-related quality of life in survivors of cancer in childhood in Latin America: a MISPHO feasibility study.
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Cancer is an increasing cause of disease-related death in childhood within developing countries, where the great majority of the world's children reside. The improving prospects for survival in such children, and the corresponding challenge of undertaking economic evaluations of related health interventions, provide a stimulus to study the health-status and health-related quality of life in survivors of cancer in childhood in Latin America. Spanish language versions of questionnaires for proxy assessors, based on the Health Utilities Index (HUI), were used to elicit responses from parents and physicians. The HUI is a family of multi-attribute, generic, preference-linked measures of health status and health-related quality of life that are reliable, responsive and valid, and have been used previously in pediatric oncology. Valid responses were received from 178 parents and 144 physicians in 6 centres in 4 countries (Cuba, Honduras, Colombia and Uruguay). For children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia the major morbidity burdens were in the attributes of emotion, cognition and pain. The overall burden of morbidity was greater in children with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In survivors of Hodgkin's disease and Wilms' tumor the attributes most affected were emotion and pain. In general, there was considerable agreement between the assessments provided independently by parents and physicians. This study demonstrates the feasibility of conducting such measurements in developing countries, and reveals similarities in health status and health-related quality of life to comparable populations in more privileged societies.
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