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



WaTCh will reveal the course of physical and psychosocial outcomes among TC patients over time and answers the question who is at risk for poor outcomes, and why. This knowledge can be used to provide personalized information, to improve screening, to develop and provide tailored treatment strategies and supportive care, to optimize outcomes, and ultimately increase the number of TC survivors that live in good health.


Newly diagnosed TC patients from 13 Dutch hospitals will be invited. Data collection will take place before treatment, and at 6, 12 and 24 months after diagnosis. Sociodemographic and clinical information is available from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Patients fill-out validated questionnaires at each time-point to assess quality of life, TC-specific symptoms, physical activity, anxiety, depression, health care use, and employment. Patients are asked to donate blood three times to assess inflammation and kynurenine pathway. Optionally, at each occasion, patients can use a weighing scale with bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) system to assess body composition; can register food intake using an online food diary; and can wear an activity tracker to assess physical activity and sleep duration/quality. Representative Dutch normative data on the studied physical and psychosocial outcomes is already available.


The WaTCh-study aims to; 1. Examine the course of physical and psychosocial outcomes. 2. Examine the association of demographic, environmental, clinical, physiological, and personality characteristics to those outcomes. In other words, who is at risk? 3. Reveal the association of mediating biological mechanisms (inflammation, kynurenine pathway) with poor physical and psychological outcomes. In other words, why is a person at risk?


Thyroid cancer (TC) patients are understudied but appear to be at risk for poor physical and psychosocial outcomes. Knowledge of the course and determinants of these deteriorated outcomes is lacking. Furthermore, little is known about mediating biological mechanisms.

More about this publication

Thyroid research
  • Volume 16
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 23
  • Publication date 10-07-2023

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