Post-Op QOL Poor in Some Esophageal Cancer Survivors

Research needed on improving long-term quality of life after surgery for esophageal cancer

MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- While most esophageal cancer patients recover their pre-surgery health-related quality of life (HRQL), a notable percentage continue to suffer adverse effects from the surgery five years later, according to a study published online Jan. 3 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Maryam Derogar and Pernilla Lagergren, R.N., Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, conducted a prospective, population-based survey to determine whether HRQL was restored five years following surgery for esophageal cancer. Of 153 eligible patients alive five years after surgery, 117 (76 percent) fully responded to the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) and the EORTC QLQ-OES18 (the disease site-specific module for esophageal cancer). Their HRQL values were compared with those of a randomly selected background population of adults matched by age and sex.

The researchers found that, five years following surgery for esophageal cancer, physical functioning was either stable or improved for 86 percent of patients. However, physical functioning in 14 percent of patients had deteriorated substantially.

"It is not surprising that HRQL remains poor in some patients after esophageal cancer surgery, considering the fact that it is one of the most demanding standard surgical procedures," the authors write. "The findings of this study highlight the need for more research to identify factors that have a negative impact on HRQL in survivors of esophageal cancer. Such knowledge can be used to develop tailored interventions for improving HRQL in the long term."

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