Medical Oncology, North West Cancer Centre, Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital, Tamworth, NSW, Australia
Background: Cancer treatments can have long-term physical, psychological, financial, sexual and cognitive effects that may influence the quality of life. These can vary from urban to rural areas, survival period and according to the type of cancer. We here aimed to describe demographics and psychosocial analysis of cancer survivors three to five years post-treatment in rural Australia and also assess relationships with financial stress and quality of life domains. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 65 participants visiting the outpatient oncology clinic were given a self-administered questionnaire. The inclusion criteria included three to five years post-treatment. Three domains were investigated using standardised and validated tools such as the Standard Quality of Life in Adult Cancer Survivors Scale (QLACS) and the Personal and Household Finances (HILDA) survey. Included were demographic parameters, quality of life, treatment information and well-being. Results: There was no evidence of associations between any demographic variable and either financial stress or cancer-specific quality of life domains. Financial stress was however significantly associated with the cancer-specific quality of life domains of appearance-related concerns, family related distress, and distress related to recurrence. Conclusions: This unique study effectively points to psychosocial aspects of cancer survivors in rural regions of Australia. Although the majority of demographic characteristics were not been found to be associated with financial stress, this latter itself is significantly associated with distress related to family and cancer recurrence. This finding may be of assistance in future studies and also considering plans to fulfil unmet needs.