Quality-of-life changes in patients with thyroid cancer after withdrawal of thyroid hormone therapy

Karen Hassey Dow, Betty R. Ferrell, Carol Anello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Quality of life (QOL) is an important consideration as patients survive longer with cancer and is an area of increasing interest in patients with thyroid cancer who undergo long-term cancer surveillance. However, there are few disease-specific QOL tools available to evaluate QOL in patients with thyroid cancer. The purposes of this longitudinal, repeated-measures study were to: (1) test a new instrument, the QOL-Thyroid Scale, during thyroid hormone withdrawal; and (2) to evaluate the impact of thyroid hormone withdrawal on patients' perceived changes in quality of life. The sample included 34 subjects (mean age 40 years) undergoing thyroid hormone withdrawal in preparation for scanning procedures. Subjects completed three instruments (demographic data tool, the QOL-Thyroid, and the FACT-G) at four specific time points in relationship to scanning. The results demonstrated that the QOL-Thyroid tool is a reliable and valid measure of QOL. Cronbach's alpha coefficient of r = .78 between QOL-Thyroid and FACT-G indicated good concurrent validity. Second, the impact of thyroid hormone withdrawal on QOL showed significant changes in physical, psychological, and social well-being across the four testing points. The greatest changes occurred between peak hormone withdrawal and thyroxine (T4) therapy. While it is generally known that patients suffer troublesome physical symptoms relating to thyroid hormone withdrawal, the negative psychological, family, and work sequelae are less apparent. In conclusion, the QOL-Thyroid is a reliable and valid measure for use in evaluating patients undergoing scanning procedures and may be used to identify and target teaching and support for high-risk areas in patients lives that are negatively affected by hormone withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-619
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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