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Younger colorectal cancer patients report poor quality of life

This month's Diseases of the Colon & Rectum finds that younger patients report poor health-related quality of life at early follow-up of colorectal cancer.

News image

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Little is known about factors that affect health-related quality of life during the early follow-up of colorectal cancer.

Dr Timothy Wilson and colleagues from England identified the factors that contribute to poor health-related quality of life after curative surgery for colorectal cancer.

The researchers designed a single-center, prospective study.

After 6 weeks of follow-up, the researchers compared the relative performance of instruments best suited to measure health-related quality of life.

Age under 65 years was associated with poor quality of life scores
Diseases of the Colon & Rectum

The team used 2 condition-specific and 2 generic instruments measured quality of life.

Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the impact of 16 treatment factors.

In addition, the research team evaluated demographic variables, and symptoms on 7 global health-related quality of life scores.

Questionnaires were obtained from 201 consecutive patients.

The team found that 5 factors were associated with poor health-related quality of life scores.

These included reduced preoperative performance status, stomas, diarrhea, constipation, and being younger than aged 65 years.

The researchers observed that no instrument out performed the others.

However, condition-specific instruments were better able to detect health-related quality of life differences relating to the effects of colorectal cancer treatment.

Those in which patients subjectively rated their overall health-related quality of life were better suited to detect differences relating to the treatment.

Dr Wilson's team commented, “Younger patients, those with stomas, and those suffering from diarrhea or constipation are more likely to report poor health-related quality of life at 6-week follow-up.”

“Using an instrument that includes a patient-rated scale together with condition-specific items could be used to detect patients at risk of poorer short-term health-related quality of life outcomes.”

Dis Colon Rectum 2006: 49(11): 1692-1702
24 November 2006

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