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Rectal cancer patients’ quality of life with a temporary stoma

The latest issue of the Diseases of the Colon & Rectum examines rectal cancer patients’ quality of life with a temporary stoma.

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Patients with rectal cancer who have a temporary ostomy report good quality of life despite identifying a number of stoma-related difficulties.

Dr Heather Neuman and colleagues qualitatively explore the experiences of patients with rectal cancer who have a temporary ileostomy to better understand the discordant findings of previous quantitative quality-of-life studies.

The researchers conducted in–depth qualitative interviews with patients with stage I to III rectal cancer who underwent sphincter-preserving surgery that resulted in a temporary ileostomy.

The research team reported that 26 patients participated.

Patients reported difficulty in exercise, sleep, and social activities
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

The researchers found that 65% had stage III disease, and 88% received neoadjuvant therapy.

Interviews examined preoperative expectations, overall experience, and stoma impact on quality of life.

With the use of grounded theory, 2 investigators independently performed line-by-line content analysis to identify key themes.

The team identified 2 major themes including stoma-related difficulties and perceived response shift.

Patients reported difficulty in exercise, sleep, social activities, sexuality, and clothing.

Patients’ perception of quality of life with a temporary stoma appears to have undergone a response shift through recalibration of their standards for measuring quality of life.

Dr Neuman's team concludes, "A temporary ileostomy represents significant difficulties for patients with rectal cancer."

"However, because of response shift, these difficulties may not be perceived as important to overall quality of life when considered within the context of the cancer experience."

"Our results can inform preoperative consultations with patients who have rectal cancer to assist in aligning patient expectations of what life with a temporary ileostomy may be like."

Dis Colon Rectum 2012: 55(11): 1117–1124
09 November 2012

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