Quality of life among disease-free survivors of rectal cancer.J Clin Oncol. 2004 Jan 15; 22(2):354-60.JC
To identify factors affecting the quality of life (QoL) of disease-free survivors of rectal cancer.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
One hundred twenty-one patients in complete remission more than 2 years after diagnosis were asked to complete three QoL questionnaires: the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30; its colorectal module, QLQ-CR38; and the Duke generic instrument.
Patients reported less pain (P =.002) than did controls drawn from the general population. EORTC QLQ-C30 physical scores were also higher among rectal cancer survivors than in the general Norwegian or German population (P =.0005 and P =.002, respectively). Unexpectedly, stoma patients reported better social functioning than did nonstoma patients (P =.005), with less anxiety (P =.008) and higher self-esteem (P =.0002). In the present authors' experience, the QLQ-CR38 does not discriminate between these groups. Residual abdominal or pelvic pain and constipation had the most negative influence on QoL.
QoL is high among rectal cancer survivors, including stoma patients. Simultaneous use of several QoL questionnaires appears to have value in follow-up and in monitoring the effects of therapy. The impact of residual pain and constipation on long-term QoL should be considered when establishing a treatment regimen.