Clinical factors associated with worse quality-of-life scores in United States thyroid cancer survivors

Sneha Goswami, Benjamin J. Peipert, Michael N. Mongelli, Sasha K. Kurumety, Irene B. Helenowski, Susan E. Yount, Cord Sturgeon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Introduction: Thyroid cancer survivors are a rapidly growing population in the United States. The factors that drive health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in this population have not been well characterized. We hypothesized that more aggressive treatments and greater treatment-related adverse effects would be associated with worse HRQOL scores in thyroid cancer survivors. Methods: Thyroid cancer survivors (18–89 years of age) completed an online survey regarding their clinical history in addition to the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) 29 instrument. Univariable and multivariable modeling were performed to evaluate factors associated with worse HRQOL scores. We generated β-values and 95% confidence intervals to quantify the effect of each independent variable in the model. Results: Thyroid cancer survivors (n = 1,743) reported a high incidence of complications related to surgery and radioactive iodine ablation. Postoperative dysphonia (ß 1.83–3.07) and dysphagia (ß 2.05–3.65) predicted worse HRQOL scores across multiple PROMIS domains. Younger patient age (age <45 years) and short- or long-term complications of radioactive iodine, including gastrointestinal symptoms (51.9%), appetite changes (71.2%), sialadenitis (58.1%), xerostomia (73.3%), and xerophthalmia (45.1%) were associated with worse HRQOL scores (P < .01). Conclusion: The factors associated with significantly worse HRQOL scores across multiple PROMIS domains for thyroid cancer survivors included patient age <45 years, postoperative hypocalcemia, dysphonia, dysphagia, scar appearance, and complications from radioactive iodine. Methods of evaluation, management, and prevention of these factors might positively impact HRQOL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-74
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery (United States)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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