Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 3071–3079 | Cite as

The individual and combined effect of colorectal cancer and diabetes on health-related quality of life and sexual functioning: results from the PROFILES registry

  • Pauline A. J. VissersEmail author
  • Melissa S. Y. Thong
  • Frans Pouwer
  • Brenda L. den Oudsten
  • Grard A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen
  • Lonneke V. van de Poll-Franse
Original Article



This study examined the individual and combined effect of having colorectal cancer (CRC) and diabetes mellitus (DM) on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and sexual functioning.


Data from questionnaires collected in 2010 among CRC patients and a sample of the general Dutch population were used. All persons older than 60 years were included in this study. DM prevalence among the CRC sample as well as the sample of the general population was self-reported. HRQoL was measured using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire version 3.0 (QLQ-C30), and sexual functioning was assessed with four scales from the EORTC-QLQ-CR38.


In total 624 persons without CRC and DM, 78 persons with DM only, 1,731 with CRC only, and 328 with both CRC and DM were included. Having both CRC and DM did not result in lower HRQoL and sexual functioning than the sum of the individual effects of both diseases. CRC, irrespective of having DM, was associated with lower scores on most EORTC-QLQ-C30 subscales, except global health, pain, and appetite loss. CRC was also independently associated with more erection problems among males. DM, irrespective of having CRC, was associated with lower physical functioning and more symptoms of dyspnea.


Having both CRC and DM did not result in lower HRQoL and sexual functioning than the sum of the individual effects of both diseases. As CRC was found to be consistently associated with lower functioning and more symptoms, CRC and its treatment seem to contribute stronger to lower HRQoL and sexual functioning compared with DM.


Cancer Diabetes Health-related quality of life Sexual functioning 



We thank all patients and their doctors for their participation in the study. Special thanks to Dr. M. van Bommel for her availability as an independent advisor and willingness to answer patients’ queries. In addition, we thank the following hospitals for their cooperation: Amphia Hospital (Breda), Bernhoven Hospital (Veghel and Oss), Catharina Hospital (Eindhoven), Elkerliek Hospital (Helmond), Jeroen Bosch Hospital (’s-Hertogenbosch), Maxima Medical Center (Eindhoven and Veldhoven), St. Anna Hospital (Geldrop), St. Elisabeth Hospital (Tilburg), Twee Steden Hospital (Tilburg and Waalwijk), and VieCuri Hospital (Venlo and Venray).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no duality of interest associated with this manuscript.


The present research is supported in part by a Social Psychology Fellowship from the Dutch Cancer Society to Melissa Thong (No. UVT2011-4960) and a Cancer Research Award from the Dutch Cancer Society (No. UVT-2009-4349) to Lonneke van de Poll-Franse. Data collection for this study was funded by the Comprehensive Cancer Centre The Netherlands, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and the Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic diseases (CoRPS), Tilburg University, The Netherlands, and an investment subsidy (No. 480-08-009) of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (The Hague, The Netherlands). The funding sources were neither involved in the collection, interpretation, and analysis of the data nor in the decision for the writing and submission of this report for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pauline A. J. Vissers
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Melissa S. Y. Thong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frans Pouwer
    • 1
  • Brenda L. den Oudsten
    • 1
  • Grard A. P. Nieuwenhuijzen
    • 3
  • Lonneke V. van de Poll-Franse
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center of Research on Psychology in Somatic Diseases (CoRPS), Department of Medical and Clinical PsychologyTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Eindhoven Cancer RegistryComprehensive Cancer Center The NetherlandsEindhovenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryCatharina HospitalEindhovenThe Netherlands

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