Cancer challenges the abilities of AYA cancer patients to achieve developmental milestones such as completing education, getting an intimate relationship, pursuing gainful employment or having children. Problems concerning self-esteem, autonomy, body image, fertility and sexuality may have a negative impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of AYA cancer patients. A construct that may be associated with HRQoL is empowerment, defined in the cancer setting as feelings of being able to manage the challenges of the cancer experience and having a sense of control over one's life. The aims of this study were to assess the levels and associated factors of empowerment among AYA cancer patients and its relationship with HRQoL.
Patients 18-35 years old at time of cancer diagnosis and visiting the AYA clinic of Radboud university medical center Nijmegen were invited to fill in questionnaires about empowerment, potential associated factors (autonomy-connectedness, coping, social support and psychological distress) and HRQoL (physical, psychological, social, religious functioning and total QoL). T-tests and linear regression analyses were performed.
Eighty-five AYA patients completed the questionnaire (response 29%). The mean age at diagnosis was 27.5 years (SD = 4.6). A third of the AYA patients were high empowered. Moderate empowered AYA patients were more often female, had lower levels of autonomy, received less social support meeting their needs, had more coping problems and higher levels of psychological distress compared to their high empowered counterparts (all p
Empowerment is an important factor related to HRQoL. Intrapersonal (autonomy, coping) and interpersonal (social support) factors were strongly associated with empowerment and therefore may serve as components for developing age specific empowerment interventions among AYA cancer patients to improve HRQoL.
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All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.