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Br J Cancer. 1999 Jul;80(10):1588-94.

Assessment of long-term quality of life in patients with anal carcinomas treated by radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy.

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Division of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland.


This study was conducted to assess long-term Quality of Life (QOL) in patients treated by radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy for anal carcinomas. Patients with a maximum age of 80 years, and who were alive at least 3 years following completion of treatment with a functioning anal sphincter and without active disease, were selected for this study. Of 52 such patients identified, 41 (79%) were evaluable. There were 35 females and six males with a median age of 71 years (55-80). The median follow-up interval was 116 months (range 37-218). QOL was assessed using two self-rating questionnaires developed by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer: one for cancer-specific QOL (EORTC QLQ-C30) and one for site-specific QOL (EORTC QLQ-CR38). For the function scales a higher score represents a higher level of functioning (100 being the best score), whereas for the symptom scales a higher score indicates a higher level of symptomatology/problems (0 being the best score). For the QLQ-C30, the functional scale scores ranged from 71 (global quality of life) to 85 (role function) and the symptom scale scores from 6 (nausea-vomiting) to 28 (diarrhoea). For the QLQ-CR38 module the functional scale scores ranged from 13 (sexual functioning) to 74 (body image) and for the symptom scale scores from 5 (weight loss) to 66 (sexual dysfunction in males). None of the functional and symptom scale scores seemed to be better in patients with longer follow-up. In patients treated with sphincter conservation for anal carcinomas, long-term QOL as measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-CR38 appears to be acceptable, with the exception of diarrhoea and perhaps sexual function. Moreover, the subset of patients who presented with severe complications and/or anal dysfunction showed poorer scores in most scales.

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