Quality of life of older rectal cancer patients is not impaired by a permanent stoma

R. Orsini, M.S.Y. Thong, L.V. van de Poll-Franse, G.D. Slooter, G.A.P. Nieuwenhuijzen, H.J.T. Rutten, I.H.J.T. de Hingh

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Abstract

Background
The current study was undertaken to investigate the impact of a stoma on the HRQL with a special focus on age.
Materials and methods
Using the Eindhoven Cancer Registry, rectal cancer patients diagnosed between 1998 and 2007 in 4 hospitals were identified. All patients underwent TME surgery. Survivors were approached to complete the SF-36 and EORTC QLQ-C38 questionnaires. HRQL scores of the four groups, stratified by stoma status (stoma/no stoma) and age at operation (<70 and ≥70), were compared. The SF-36 and the QLQ-CR38 sexuality subscale scores of the survivors were compared with an age- and sex-matched Dutch norm population.ResultsMedian follow-up of 143 patients was 3.4 years. Elderly had significantly worse physical function (p = 0.0003) compared to younger patients. Elderly (p = 0.005) and patients without a stoma (p = 0.009) had worse sexual functioning compared to younger patients and patients with a stoma. Older males showed more sexual dysfunction (p = 0.01) when compared to younger males. In comparison with the normative population, elderly with a stoma had worse physical function (p < 0.01), but slightly better mental health (p < 0.05). Elderly without a stoma had better emotional role function (p < 0.01), and younger patients had worse sexual functioning and enjoyment (both p < 0.0001).
Conclusions
Older patients with a stoma have comparable HRQL to older patients without a stoma or the normative population, indicating the feasibility of a permanent stoma for elderly patients with a low situated rectal carcinoma. The negative impact of treatment on sexual functioning as found in the current study calls for further attention to alleviate this problem in sexually active patients.

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