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.
Copyright 2000 American Cancer Society.