Radiation therapy (RT) is a critical component of treatment for adolescents and young adults (AYAs, age 15–39 years old) diagnosed with cancer. Limited prior studies have focused on AYAs receiving RT despite the potentially burdensome effects of RT. We reviewed the literature to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in AYAs with cancer who received RT.
The MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science databases were searched in January 2022 to identify studies that analyzed HRQOL measured by patient-reported outcomes in AYAs who received RT. After title (n = 286) and abstract (n = 58) screening and full-text review (n = 19), articles that met eligibility criteria were analyzed.
Six studies were analyzed. Two studies included AYAs actively receiving treatment and all included patients in survivorship; time between diagnosis and HRQOL data collection ranged from 3 to > 20 years. Physical and mental health were commonly assessed (6/6 studies) with social health assessed in three studies. AYA-relevant HRQOL needs were rarely assessed: fertility (1/6 studies), financial hardship (1/6), body image (0/6), spirituality (0/6), and sexual health (0/6). No study compared HRQOL between patients actively receiving RT and those post-treatment. None of the studies collected HRQOL data longitudinally.
HRQOL data in AYAs receiving RT is limited. Future studies examining longitudinal, clinician- vs. patient-reported, and AYA-relevant HRQOL are needed to better understand the unique needs in this population.