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Volume 3, Issue 3-4, Pages 183-190

Quality of Life in Survivors of a Primary Bone Tumour: A Systematic Review

1CRC Child and Family Research Group, School of Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QG, UK
2Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Oncology Service, Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust, Woodlands, Northfield, Birmingham B 31 4111, UK
3CRC Child and Family Research Group, Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TP, UK

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. We conducted a systematic search of published literature, to assess (i) quality of life (QoL) for survivors of a bone tumour compared with the normal population; (ii) QoL implications following amputation, successful or failed limb salvage; (iii) adaptation of young children to amputation compared with older children or adolescents.

Methods. Electronic databases were searched including Medline, PsycLIT and Cinahl covering the years 1982– 1998.

Results. We identified 11 studies. Regardless of treatment, physical functioning was poor compared with population norms or healthy siblings.There was less consistent evidence regarding emotional functioning. Seven studies compared functioning in amputees and limb salvage patients.Two reported advantages in physical function for the limb salvage group, one for the amputees and the rest no differences. Evidence about social functioning or marriage is inconclusive, but there are suggestions that amputees report more job discrimination.

Discussion. The literature is inconclusive, largely because of methodological problems. These include small and non-representative samples, and lack of sensitive and appropriate measures. Specific gaps in the literature include very little work concerned with psychological outcomes for children, or for those experiencing failed limb salvage. More attention needs to be given to gender differences in emotional response to traumatic surgery.The implications of the results for helping families balance the merits of different treatments are discussed.