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Psychological determinants of quality of life in radiotherapy patients in relation to disease stage and age

14 December 2022

Introduction: Radiotherapy is one of the most commonly used and effective cancer treatments. At the same time, it is one of the factors that cause psychological stress in people with cancer, as it is associated with feelings of anxiety and fear and the occurrence of side effects, and significantly affects quality of life.

Purpose of the work: The aim of the study was to determine the contribution of selected psychological variables (such as sense of coherence and its three components - comprehensibility, resourcefulness, meaningfulness; subjective sense of illness; coping strategies - constructive: fighting spirit, positive re-evaluation, and destructive: helplessness - hopelessness, anxiety preoccupation, and quality of life assessment), medical (stage of disease) and demographic (age) on the quality of life of female cancer patients treated with radiotherapy.

Material and methods: The study included 50 women with cancer, aged 24-78 years, undergoing radiotherapy at the Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy of the University Clinical Centre in Gdańsk. The Antonovsky Life Orientation Questionnaire SOC-29, the Visual Analogue Scale, the Mini-MAC Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale by Watson et al. adapted by Z. Juczyński and the Quality of Life Questionnaire EORTC QLQ-C30 developed by the Quality of Life Group EORTC were used.

Results: The quality of life of female patients undergoing radiotherapy remains related to their sense of coherence, subjective sense of illness and coping strategies in cancer. At the same time, higher quality of life is presented by subjects with a higher intensity of sense of coherence, as well as with a lower subjective sense of illness and using constructive coping strategies.

Conclusions: Sense of coherence, type of coping strategies used and subjective sense of illness are better predictors of quality of life than stage of illness and age of radiotherapy patients.