Socioeconomic disparities in health-related quality of life among colorectal cancer survivors

Jean A. McDougall, Cindy K. Blair, Charles L. Wiggins, Michael B. Goodwin, Vi K. Chiu, Ashwani Rajput, Anita Y. Kinney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Improvements in colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in substantial gains in survival. However, the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of CRC survivors often depends on access to supportive care, which differs by survivors’ socioeconomic characteristics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between socioeconomic characteristics and HRQoL in a diverse group of CRC survivors. Methods: We conducted a population-based, cross-sectional study to examine the association between socioeconomic factors (household income, health literacy, and insurance status) and HRQoL domains of pain interference, fatigue, physical function, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and depression. PROMIS® Short Forms v.2.0 were used to assess domains of HRQoL. Linear regression modeling was used to estimate the coefficient representing the average HRQoL domain score and its 95% confidence interval (CI). Results: Three hundred one CRC survivors participated in the survey. Low-income (≤ $30,000) CRC survivors had, on average, a 4.70-point (95% CI 1.10–8.28) higher pain interference score, a 7.02-point (95% CI 3.27–10.77) higher fatigue score, a 5.13-point (95% CI − 8.56 to − 1.71) lower physical function score, and a 4.44-point (95% 1.40–7.49) higher depression score than CRC survivors with an income ≥ $70,000. Survivors with Medicaid insurance reported significantly greater pain interference and worse physical function than privately insured survivors. Survivors with low health literacy reported significantly greater pain interference compared with survivors with high health literacy. Conclusions: Substantial socioeconomic disparities in HRQoL were observed in this diverse population of CRC survivors. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Designing supportive care interventions to improve HRQoL among low-income and Medicaid-insured CRC survivors is critical for eliminating disparities in CRC outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-467
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Colorectal
  • Disparities
  • Income
  • Insurance
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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