Self-perceived cognitive functioning and quality of life among cancer survivors: Results from the PROFILES registry

Simone Oerlemans*, Sanne B. Schagen, Corina J. van den Hurk, Olga Husson, Dounya Schoormans, Lonneke V. van de Poll-Franse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The aim was to investigate the level of self-perceived cognitive functioning and its associated factors among a large population-based cohort of cancer survivors and their matched controls. 


Data were obtained from population-based PROFILES registry cohorts, including colon, rectum, prostate or thyroid cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma (MM), melanoma, or basal cell carcinoma (BCC)/squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). All patients completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 from which self-perceived cognitive functioning, fatigue, functioning, and global health status/quality of life (GHS/QoL) were used. The PROFILES registry data were linked with the Netherlands Cancer Registry to obtain sociodemographic and clinical data. Results: Six thousand seven hundred eighty-six survivors were included (response rate=76%). Survivors, except for melanoma and BCC/SCC, reported on average lower self-perceived cognitive functioning scores compared to their matched controls (all p’s<0.01). Largest differences with the norm were observed in thyroid cancer, HL, NHL and MM, and younger survivors (<50 years). Survivors with lower emotional functioning and more fatigue were more likely to report impaired self-perceived cognitive functioning. 


S elf-perceived impaired cognitive functioning is prevalent among a wide range of cancer survivors, especially among survivors <50 years. Approaches targeting cognitive problems including attention for co-occurring symptoms such as fatigue and emotional impairments are needed to improve care for these patients. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Cancer survivors and clinicians should be aware that impaired self-perceived cognitive functioning is a frequently reported consequence of cancer and its treatment among survivors of various cancer types. Clinicians can redirect survivors to a relevant healthcare provider or program to target cognitive problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-313
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Cancer survivors
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Quality of life
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Normative population


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