Because most colorectal cancer patients survive beyond five years, understanding quality of life among these long-term survivors is essential to providing comprehensive survivor care. We sought to identify personal characteristics associated with reported quality of life in colorectal cancer survivors, and sub-groups of survivors potentially vulnerable to very low quality of life.
We assessed quality of life using the Veterans RAND 12-item Health Survey within a population-based sample of 1,021 colorectal cancer survivors in the Seattle Colorectal Cancer Family Registry, approximately 5 years post-diagnosis. In this case-only study, mean physical component summary scores and mental component summary scores were examined with linear regression. To identify survivors with substantially reduced ability to complete daily tasks, logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for “very low” summary scores, defined as a score in the lowest decile of the reference US population. All cases were followed for vital status following QoL assessment, and mortality was analyzed with Cox proportional hazards regression.
Lower mean physical component summary score was associated with older age, female sex, obesity, smoking, and diabetes or other co-morbidity; lower mean mental component summary score was associated with younger age and female sex. Higher odds of very low physical component summary score was associated with older age, obesity, less education, smoking, co-morbidities, and later stage at diagnosis; smoking was associated with higher odds of very low mental component summary score. A very low physical component score was associated with higher risk of mortality (hazard ratio (95% confidence interval): 3.97 (2.95–5.34)).