Background: The main objective of this study was to investigate health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in terms of symptoms and functional outcomes in disease-free survivors of rectal cancer. Methods: Consecutive patients (n = 117) who underwent curative surgery for rectal cancer with a minimum of 2 years' follow-up and whose disease had not recurred were asked to complete the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 and its colorectal cancer module (QLQ-CR38). Long-term HRQOL outcomes were compared with reference data from the general population. Relevant clinical data including type of surgery, stage of disease, type of treatment, and early and late complications were collected. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to investigate associations among covariates. Results: RQOL functional aspects were similar with that of an age- and sex-matched general population. Although clinically meaningful better outcomes favoring our patients were found for the global health status/HRQOL and the pain scales, constipation was worse in rectal cancer survivors than the general population. Multivariate analysis found that worse physical functioning was associated with increasing age (P <.001), female sex (P <.01), presence of stoma (P <.05), and occurrence of late major complications (P <.05). Worse body image was associated with the presence of stoma (P <.001) and chemoradiotherapy (P <.05). Conclusion: Overall, patients with rectal cancer recover well in the long run, with HRQOL levels comparable to that of the general population. HRQOL outcomes provide valuable data that may be used to improve information disclosure to patients.
- Health related quality of life
- Rectal cancer
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