Quality of Life (QL) is hard to assess and seldom measured in patients having carcinomas with an unfavourable prognosis. Oesphageal cancer is one of the malignancies with a low 5-year survival rate. Dysphagia (problems in swallowing food) is considered to be the most important indicator of QL in patients with oesophageal carcinoma. Moreover, the psycho-social aspects and subjective QL in cancer have recently gained importance.

The present study investigated QL in a 132 patients with oesophageal cancer. Eighty-three of them had a surgical operation (removal of part of the oesophagus and part of the stomach, followed by a reconstruction of the digestive tract). Sixty-seven patients filled in questionnaires before and after the operation. Complete sets of data were obtained from 62 patients. Time interval between operation and postoperative assessment varied from 3 to 7 months. Indicators of QL were: Psychological Distress, Physical Symptoms, Global Evaluations, Activity Level, Swallowing Problems and Food Intake. Swallowing Problems showed moderate correlations with the other QL indicators. Physical Symptoms increased, whereas the Activity Level, Psychological Distress, and Swallowing Problems decreased; Global Evaluations remained unaltered.

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doi.org/10.1016/0277-9536(92)90161-I, hdl.handle.net/1765/56398
Social Science & Medicine
Department of Surgery

van Knippenberg, F., Out, J. J., Tilanus, H., Mud, H. J., Hop, W., & Verhage, F. (1992). Quality of life in patients with resected oesophageal cancer. Social Science & Medicine, 35(2), 139–145. doi:10.1016/0277-9536(92)90161-I