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Quality of life in patients treated for anal carcinoma-a systematic literature review

Journal article
Authors Anton Sterner
Kristoffer Derwinger
C. Staff
Hanna Nilsson
Eva Angenete
Published in International Journal of Colorectal Disease
Volume 34
Issue 9
Pages 1517-1528
ISSN 0179-1958
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Pages 1517-1528
Language en
Keywords Anal cancer, Oncology, Morbidity, Radiotherapy, questionnaire eortc qlq-c30, rectal-cancer, functional assessment, combined therapy, fact-c, sexual dysfunction, colorectal-cancer, urinary, radiotherapy, reliability, Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Surgery
Subject categories Cancer and Oncology, Gastroenterology and Hepatology


Purpose Anal cancer is a mainly treated with chemoradiotherapy. A small number of patients undergo salvage surgery. There are few published studies investigating quality of life and functional outcome after treatment for anal cancer. The aim of this review was to explore the literature and identify areas for further research. Methods A search was conducted in Medline using MESH terms related to anal cancer and quality of life. Two investigators selected and reviewed articles based on titles and abstracts. Three investigators read and reviewed the included articles and collected relevant data. The included articles were evaluated using the minimum standard checklist, and key findings were summarised in a chart. Results Some 15 articles, and a total of 802 patients, were deemed eligible. The results differed slightly among the studies. The incidence of symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, insomnia and appetite loss was higher than among healthy volunteers. Bowel function, urinary function and sexual function were negatively affected. Some studies found that, compared with the normal population, anal cancer survivors scored clinically significant worse in the functional scales in QLQ-C30. Conclusion In conclusion, it is apparent that several functional problems affect the quality of life of patients with anal cancer. There are few studies which have investigated quality of life after treatment for anal cancer. Interventions to address issues related to anal cancer treatment may improve long-term quality of life in this patient group.

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