Few studies describe quality of life (QoL) outcomes following gastrectomy for gastric cancer using a validated instrument. The gastric cancer module for the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy system of QoL measurement tools (FACT-Ga) was utilized to determine the changes in QoL following gastrectomy, and during the disease course.
In 43 patients undergoing gastrectomy for gastric cancer, outcome such as complications, recurrence, and survival were annotated. Karnofsky performance status (KPS) and QoL were determined preoperatively and at each follow-up visit.
Nineteen (44%) patients and 24 (56%) patients underwent partial gastrectomy (PG) and total gastrectomy (TG), respectively. Complications occurred in 30%, and one mortality (2.3%) occurred. Median survival was 23 months. KPS, FACT-G, and FACT-Ga scores all decreased after surgery, and normalized by 6 months. There was no significant difference in QoL in patients who had a PG or TG, although the type of gastrectomy did affect KPS. QoL dropped on average 4.4 ± 3.6 months prior to death.
Surgery adversely affects QoL for up to 6 months. Thereafter, QoL mirrors changes in disease status. More studies are required to document the QoL cost-benefit ratio in gastric cancer, which often is accompanied by short survival benefits. J. Surg. Oncol. 2012;105:337–341. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.