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Dis Colon Rectum. 2005 Mar;48(3):483-92.

Ten-year historic cohort of quality of life and sexuality in patients with rectal cancer.

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Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.



In various studies, type of surgery, age, and gender had different impact on sexuality and quality of life in patients with rectal cancer. This study was designed to investigate how sexuality and quality of life are affected by age, gender, and type of surgery.


A total of 516 patients who had undergone surgery for rectal cancer in our department from 1992 to 2002 were included. Within one year after the operation, 117 patients died. Questionnaires were sent to 373 patients 12 to 18 months after surgery. We received quality of life data from 261 patients. Comparisons were made after adjusting age, gender, and type of surgical procedure.


For patients receiving abdominoperineal resection sexuality was most impaired. Significant differences were seen in symptom and function scales between males and females. Females reported more distress from the medical treatment insomnia, fatigue, and constipation. Both genders had impaired sexual life; however, males had significantly higher values and felt more distressed by this impairment. Younger females felt more distress through impaired sexuality. In males sexuality was impaired independent of age. Adjuvant therapy had no influence on sexuality but on quality of life one year after surgery.


Assessing quality of life with general and specific instruments is helpful to determine whether patients improved through the treatment. The study showed that gender, age, and type of surgery influence sexuality and that quality of life after surgery for rectal cancer is impacted. Because quality of life is a predictor for complications and survival, availability of such data may help to direct supportive treatment to improve outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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