In locally advanced rectal cancer, an extended resection peripheral to the mesorectal fascia is needed to achieve a radical resection. The influence of extended resections on health-related quality of life is unclear.
Differences in health-related quality of life and sexuality between patients receiving standard surgery and patients receiving extended surgery were examined, with a focus on age.
Patients operated on for rectal cancer between 2000 and 2010 were selected from a database and invited to complete the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer quality-of-life questionnaires (C30 and ColoRectal 38).
All patients were treated at the Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
All patients received total mesorectal excision surgery or extended surgery for rectal cancer.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Health-related quality of life and sexual activity was compared between patients treated with total mesorectal excision surgery and extended surgery and further stratified by age at the time of surgery (<70 and ≥70).
Two hundred twenty-nine (64.1%) patients with standard surgery and 128 (35.9%) patients treated with extended resections responded. Extended surgery in patients <70 years resulted in lower body image compared with patients <70 years receiving standard surgery. Patients ≥70 years had lower sexual function and more male sexual dysfunction than patients <70 years undergoing standard surgery. In all groups, sexual activity dropped significantly after treatment.
No information was available of the patients' health-related quality of life before treatment except for the retrospective question about sexual activity.
This study showed no major differences between patients undergoing total mesorectal excision surgery and those receiving extended surgery, with the exception of body image, which was significantly lower in patients <70 years undergoing extended surgery. In all patient groups, treatment for rectal cancer influenced sexual activity dramatically. Awareness of the impact of surgery on health-related quality of life and sexuality is needed.