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Long-term health-related quality of life following surgery for oesophageal cancer

Authors

  • T. Djärv,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unit of Oesophageal and Gastric Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Unit of Oesophageal and Gastric Research, Department of Surgery, P9:03, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden
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  • J. Lagergren,

    1. Unit of Oesophageal and Gastric Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • J. M. Blazeby,

    1. Departments of Social Medicine and Clinical Sciences of South Bristol, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
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  • P. Lagergren

    1. Unit of Oesophageal and Gastric Research, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
    2. Departments of Social Medicine and Clinical Sciences of South Bristol, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
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Abstract

Background:

The aim of the study was to assess health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with surgically cured oesophageal cancer.

Methods:

A Swedish nationwide cohort of patients undergoing oesophagectomy for cancer between April 2001 and January 2004 was studied prospectively, and compared with a Swedish age- and sex-adjusted reference population. Validated European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life questionnaires were used to assess HRQL at 6 months and 3 years after surgery. A mean score difference of 10 or more between groups was considered clinically relevant and tested further for statistical significance.

Results:

Of 358 patients, 117 (32·7 per cent) survived for at least 3 years. Of these, 87 patients (74·4 per cent) responded to the questionnaires. Six months after surgery, most aspects of HRQL were substantially worse than in the reference population with no improvement at 3 years. Patients alive at 3 years reported significantly poorer role and social function, and significantly more problems with fatigue, diarrhoea, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, than in the reference population.

Conclusion:

HRQL in long-term survivors after oesophagectomy does not improve between 6 months and 3 years after surgery, and is worse than that in a comparable reference population. Copyright © 2008 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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