Determinants and mediating mechanisms of quality of life and disease-specific symptoms among thyroid cancer patients: The WaTCh study

Project: Research project

Project Details


WaTCh is a longitudinal population-based study in which all newly diagnosed thyroid cancer (TC) patients from 13 Dutch hospitals will be invited by a medical specialist. Data collection will take place before treatment, and 6 months, 1, and 2 years after diagnosis. Dutch normative data (n=2500) is available).

Research questions:
1) What is the level of physical and psychosocial outcomes (general and disease-specific quality of life, fatigue, sleep, physical activity, anxiety, depression, health care utilisation, employment) over time among TC patients?
2) What is the role of demographic (age, sex), environmental (food intake, body weight, body composition), clinical (tumour stage, treatment), biological (DNA and serum markers), physiological (physical activity and sleep) and personality factors on physical and psychosocial outcomes of TC patients? In other words, who is at risk?
3) What is the association of mediating biological and physiological mechanisms (e.g., inflammation, genetic variation) with poor physical and psychosocial outcomes in TC patients? In other words, why is a person at risk?

Data collection: Patients fill-out internationally validated questionnaires on physical and psychosocial outcomes 4 times. They have the option to compare their scores to mean scores of other TC patients and/or a normative population (both same sex and age) to see whether their scores are average or not using a traffic light model. Patients will be asked to donate blood 3 times in their hospital using a standard protocol to assess inflammation and genetic variation. Survivors’ sociodemographic and clinical information is available from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. We will extract additional clinical data from patients’ medical files. Optionally, patients can use a weighing scale with bio-electrical impedance system 4 times (2 weeks each time) to assess changes in body composition; can register food intake using the ‘Eetmeter’ from the Dutch ‘Voedingscentrum’ for 3 subsequent days at 4 occasions; and can wear a Fitbit for 2 weeks at 4 occasions to assess physical activity and sleep duration and quality. These parts are optional to minimize patient burden, to support inclusion, and prevent dropout. Even if only a small portion of patients is willing to participate in these additional parts, this will yield a wealth of unique data.

Layman's description

WaTCh reveals the course of physical and psychosocial outcomes among thyroid cancer (TC) patients over time and answers the question who is at risk for poor outcomes, and why. This is much needed to provide personalized information, to improve screening, and to develop and provide tailor-made treatments and supportive care.
StatusNot started


  • thyroid cancer
  • schildklierkanker


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