Psychological well-being outcomes in disease-free survivors of mid-low rectal cancer following curative surgery
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate psychological well-being outcomes in disease-free survivors who previously underwent radical surgery for rectal adenocarcinoma. All patients with rectal adenocarcinoma who underwent primary surgery at a single institution from 1990 to 2002 were considered for inclusion in the study. We identified and sent questionnaires to 145 patients after excluding those who had died or had recurrent disease. One hundred and seventeen patients (men/women: 74/43; median age: 65 years) returned the questionnaires. Patients' well being was evaluated using the Psychological General Well-Being Index (PGWBI) questionnaire. The mean PGWBI score was compared with normative data of the general population. The impact of patient-, tumor- and treatment-related factors on patients' long-term psychological well-being status was also evaluated. Compared with the general population, study patients had significantly better anxiety, depressed mood, positive well being, general health, vitality scales and global index scores. On multivariate analysis, positive well being was independently affected by time from diagnosis (36 months; p=0.025) and occurrence of early major complications (p=0.024). Variables that were independently associated with worse self-control included primary education (p=0.04) and the presence of fecal urgency (p=0.049). General health was negatively affected by time from diagnosis (36 months; p=0.047) and fecal urgency (p=0.009). Patients who have survived cancer are likely to re-evaluate the importance of everyday events and this may explain why they had better PGWBI scores. This study also identified that a short time from diagnosis, early adverse events and bowel dysfunction had a negative impact on patients' well being.