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The impact on health-related quality of a stoma or poor functional outcomes after rectal cancer surgery in Dutch patients: A prospective cohort study

23 april 2023


As the survival of patients with rectal cancer has improved in recent decades, more and more patients have to live with the consequences of rectal cancer surgery. An influential factor in long-term Health-related Quality of Life (HRQoL) is the presence of a stoma. This study aimed to better understand the long-term consequences of a stoma and poor functional outcomes.


Patients who underwent curative surgery for a primary tumor located in the rectosigmoid and rectum between 2013 and 2020 were identified from the nationwide Prospective Dutch Colorectal Cancer (PLCRC) cohort study. Patients received the following questionnaires: EORTC-QLQ-CR29, EORTC-QLQ-C30, and the LARS-score at 12 months, 24 months and 36 months after surgery.


A total of 1,170 patients were included of whom 751 (64.2%) had no stoma, 122 (10.4%) had a stoma at primary surgery, 45 (3.8%) had a stoma at secondary surgery and 252 (21.5%) patients that underwent abdominoperineal resection (APR). Of all patients without a stoma, 41.4% reported major low-anterior resection syndrome (LARS). Patients without a stoma reported significantly better HRQoL. Moreover, patients without a stoma significantly reported an overall better HRQoL.


The presence of a stoma and poor functional outcomes were both associated with reduced HRQoL. Patients with poor functional outcomes, defined as major LARS, reported a similar level of HRQoL compared to patients with a stoma. In addition, the HRQoL after rectal cancer surgery does not change significantly after the first year after surgery.

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