, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 355-360
Date: 04 Mar 2004

Quality of Life Associated with Surgery for Esophageal Cancer: Differences between Collar and Intrathoracic Anastomoses

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Postoperative survival and complication rates have traditionally been the standard parameters of outcome after oncologic surgery. In tumors with poor patient survival, such as esophageal cancer, studies about quality of life are rare. The objectives of this study were to assess outcomes in terms of quality of life in patients with esophageal cancer when investigating differences between two surgical reconstructive procedures: intrathoracic anastomosis and collar anastomosis. A total of 108 patients with esophageal cancer had undergone surgery for esophageal cancer in our department from 1992 to 2000. Median survival was 36 months with no significant differences between patients undergoing collar or intrathoracic anastomosis. After determining the survival status, questionnaires on quality of life were sent to all patients 1 to 2 years after surgery. We received data from 46 patients. The responders were divided into groups of intrathoracic anastomosis (n = 24) and collar anastomosis (n = 22). Patients with the collar anastomosis showed significantly better physical and social functioning and global health status. From the viewpoint of postoperative quality of life, reflux-related symptoms were the major problem for patients with an intrathoracic anastomosis. These symptoms cause significant insomnia and impair social and physical function. The study showed that assessing quality of life with specific and general instruments is helpful for determining the differences between surgical procedures where standard parameters such as survival have their limitations.