Asko Niemelä, John Koivukangas, Riitta Herva M.D, Helinä Hakko, Pirkko Räsänen and Arja Mainio
Background: Gender differences and long-term consequences of brain tumor on quality of life (QOL) have been sparsely studied.
Methods: QOL measures were assessed in 81 consecutive brain tumor patients who had survived for 5-7 years after surgical treatment. Of these patients, 22 % had gliomas, 51 % had meningiomas, 16 % had acoustic neurinomas and 11 % had pituitary adenomas. The QOL measures were the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) and the Health Measurement Questionnaire (HMQ).
Results: Female patients with gliomas had significantly more distress as measured by the HMQ and significantly worse functional state in terms of the KPS compared to patients with other tumors, while among male patients there were no differences between tumor groups. Significant gender differences between the genders were found in the feeling of sadness and depression, anxiety and worry, and dependence on others, and furthermore among the female patients, those with gliomas differed strongly from those with other types of tumors.
Conclusions: Females tend to report worse QOL and more distress compared to males. Worse QOL in females with brain tumors can be a sign of more profound suffering.