Quality of life in survivors of colorectal carcinoma

Cancer. 2000 Mar 15;88(6):1294-303.


Background: Colon carcinoma is a common malignancy that accounts for a substantial share of all cancer-related morbidity and mortality. However, little is known with regard to general and disease specific quality of life in survivors of colorectal carcinoma, particularly from community-based samples of cases across stage and survival times from diagnosis.

Methods: Subjects with colorectal carcinoma were recruited from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry. Subjects completed two self-administered surveys: the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Scales for Colorectal Cancer (FACT-C) and the Health Utilities Index (HUI) Mark III.

Results: One hundred seventy-three respondents (average age: 70.4 years, 71.4% female) completed the survey. In the first 3 years after diagnosis, quality of life was lower and varied substantially among respondents. After 3 years, respondents in all TNM stages of disease except Stage IV reported a relatively uniform and high quality of life. Pain, functional well-being, and social well-being were affected most substantially across all stages and times from diagnosis. Low income status was associated with worse outcomes for pain, ambulation, and social and emotional well-being. Only emotional well-being scores improved significantly over time in both surveys.

Conclusions: Those individuals who achieve a long term remission from colorectal carcinoma may experience a relatively high quality of life, although deficits remain for several areas, particularly in those of low socioeconomic status. Sampling design may have excluded the most severely ill patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / psychology*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pain / psychology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Rectal Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SEER Program
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Class
  • Survival Rate
  • Survivors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking / physiology