Quality of life in patients with muscle invasive and non-muscle invasive bladder cancer

Support Care Cancer. 2013 May;21(5):1383-93. doi: 10.1007/s00520-012-1680-8. Epub 2012 Dec 14.


Purpose: Compared to the literature on other malignancies, data on quality of life (QoL) in bladder cancer are sparse. This study sought answers to the following questions: In what QoL domains do patients with bladder cancer differ from the general population? Do patients with radical cystectomy differ in QoL compared to those who received conservative treatment? Do patients with neobladder generally have better QoL compared to patients with other diversion methods?

Methods: At the beginning of inpatient rehabilitation, N = 823 patients with bladder cancer were assessed. Data of a representative community sample (N = 2037) were used for comparison. The questionnaire EORTC QLQ-C30 was used to measure QoL. Multivariate linear regression models were computed to investigate differences between groups.

Results: Patients with both non-muscle invasive and muscle invasive bladder cancer reported significantly more problems and worse functioning than the general population. Radiotherapy is associated with clinically relevant more pain, dyspnoea, constipation, appetite loss and decreased social functioning while chemotherapy is associated more with dyspnoea. Cystectomy patients reported more fatigue, appetite loss and decreased role functioning. Male patients ≥70 years with conduit experienced more sleep and emotional problems. These effects of urinary diversion were not observed in women and younger patients.

Conclusions: Patients with bladder cancer experience various QoL concerns at the beginning of inpatient rehabilitation. These problems can partly be explained by the type of treatment the patients receive. Type of urinary diversion is relevant for QoL in subgroups of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystectomy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiation Injuries / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / rehabilitation
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / therapy
  • Urinary Diversion / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents