Purpose: Colorectal cancer is a common diagnosis in the elderly. Frequently concerns arise about outcomes after surgery, and little is known about postoperative quality of life in this older group after major bowel surgery. The objective of this study was to compare quality of life and functional status of elderly patients (older than aged 80 years) who have undergone surgery for colorectal cancer with a younger (younger than aged 70 years), procedure-matched control group.
Methods: Patients in the case (older than aged 80 years) and control groups (younger than aged 70 years) were identified from the colorectal cancer database at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada. All had treatment for colorectal cancer within the last five years. Patients were surveyed by mail using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life scales specific to cancer and colorectal cancer (EORTC-C30 and EORTC-CR38) and the Short Form-36. Student's t-test was used to test differences.
Results: There were 29 patients in each of the groups. The current average ages were 83.2 (standard deviation = 2.79) years, and 67.7 (standard deviation = 5.1) years, respectively. The two groups scored similarly on the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life scales in all domains except physical functioning, functional role, micturition, and stoma-related problems. Similarly, the mean scores of the Short Form-36 were similar with the exception of the vitality domain. Most patients did not require special assistance or alternate living arrangements after discharge from the hospital, and most patients seemed to be able to return to their preoperative level of functioning. However, stoma care was a greater concern to the elderly.
Conclusions: Elderly patients older than aged 80 years who are selected for surgery have a quality of life comparable to younger patients in most respects. Therefore, colorectal cancer surgery may be offered to the highly functioning elderly with the expectation of a good quality of life postoperatively.
(C) The ASCRS 2006