Background: Little is known regarding the long-term, health-related quality of life (HRQL) of survivors of esophagectomy for cancer.
Methods: Consecutive patients completed the validated European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer general quality-of life-questionnaire (QLQ-C30) and the esophageal-specific module (QLQ-OES18) before surgery and regularly thereafter for at least 3 years. Mean scores with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. The Student t test for paired data was used to determine differences between baseline and 3-year HRQL scores in which scores differed by >or=5 points.
Results: Of 90 patients who underwent surgery, 47 patients (52%) survived for >or=3 years. In this group, most aspects of HRQL recovered to preoperative levels by the 3-year assessment, except that scores for physical function, breathlessness, diarrhea, and reflux were significantly worse than at baseline (P < .01). However, patients reported significantly better emotional function 3 years after surgery than before treatment (P = .0008).
Conclusions: Even after 3 years, patients who underwent esophagectomy suffered persistent problems with physical function and specific symptoms. These findings may be used to inform patients of the long-term consequences of surgery.
(c) 2007 American Cancer Society.