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Study finds high levels of anxiety and depression among survivors of colorectal cancer

Dutch and UK researchers measure quality of life for people ten years after initial diagnosis

Dutch and UK researchers measure quality of life for people ten years after initial diagnosis

Picture: iStock

The disease-free survival statistics for colorectal cancer are comparatively high – more than half of all people are alive ten years after diagnosis. Nevertheless, many people living with and beyond cancer do so with the consequences of a range of treatment-related adverse events, side effects and comorbidities that affect their quality of life.

This paper, produced by researchers from the Netherlands and the UK, examined the records of patients from Eindhoven in the southern part of the Netherlands who had been diagnosed with stage I-IV colorectal cancer between 2000 and 2009.

Data was collected as part of the broader longitudinal population-based cohort investigation, the Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Initial Treatment and Long-Term Evaluation of Survivorship (PROFILES) study, which collected data from questionnaires conducted yearly from December 2010 to 2013.

Quality of life measure

Data collected included sociodemographic and clinical characteristics; the symptom experience of anxiety and depression, as recorded by the self-reported Hospital and Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the quality of life measure, using the Likert type European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30.

Rates of depression and anxiety were reportedly higher than those of the normative population; rates were higher in patients with low or medium educational attainment.

A longer time since diagnosis was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, but men and older adults reported less anxiety and more depression. Having fewer comorbidities, a lower disease stage and being married were also associated with less anxiety and depression.

Mols F et al (2018) Symptoms of anxiety and depression among colorectal cancer survivors from the population based, longitudinal PROFILES registry: prevalence, predictors, and impact on quality of life. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31369

Dion Smyth is a lecturer-practitioner in cancer and palliative care at Birmingham City University

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