Purpose: Many patients do not receive guideline-recommended neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for resectable rectal cancer. Little is known regarding long-term quality of life (QOL) associated with various treatment approaches. Our objective was to determine patient characteristics and subsequent QOL associated with treatment approach. Methods: Our study was a geographically diverse population- and health system-based cohort study that included adults age 21 years or older with newly diagnosed stage II/III rectal cancer who were recruited from 2003 to 2005. Eligible patients were contacted 1 to 4 months after diagnosis and asked to participate in a telephone survey and to consent to medical record review, with separate follow-up QOL surveys conducted 1 and 7 years after diagnosis. Results: Two hundred thirty-nine patients with stage II/III rectal cancer were included in this analysis. Younger age (< 65 v ≥ 65 years: odds ratio, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.33 to 4.65) was significantly associated with increased odds of receiving neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. The adjuvant chemoradiotherapy group had significantly worse mean EuroQol-5D (range, 0 to 1) and Short Form-12 physical health component scores (standardized mean, 50) at 1-year follow-up than the neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy group (0.75 v 0.85; P = .002; 37.2 v 43.3; P = .01, respectively) and the group that received only one or neither form of treatment (0.75 v 0.85; P = .02; 37.2 v 45.1; P = .008, respectively). Conclusion: Neoadjuvant treatment may result in better QOL and functional status 1 year after diagnosis. Further evaluation of patient and provider reasons for not pursuing neoadjuvant therapy is necessary to determine how and where to target process improvement and/or education efforts to ensure that patients have access to recommended treatment options.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy