Quality of Life Research

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 547–555 | Cite as

Are gender-associated differences in quality of life in colorectal cancer patients disease-specific?

  • Johannes Giesinger
  • Georg Kemmler
  • Verena Mueller
  • August Zabernigg
  • Beate Mayrbaeurl
  • Josef Thaler
  • Dietmar Öfner
  • Christian Pegger
  • Gerhard Rumpold
  • Barbara Weber
  • Barbara Sperner-Unterweger
  • Bernhard HolznerEmail author



The purpose of this study was to investigate gender-associated differences in quality of life in colorectal cancer patients and compare such differences to the general population.


Colorectal cancer patients attending three oncological centres in Austria were consecutively recruited and assessed with the EORTC QLQ-C30. For the purpose of comparison, a gender- and age-matched healthy control group was drawn from a representative sample of the Austrian general population.


About 206 patients (47.1% women; mean age 64.8 years) with colorectal cancer were included and compared with 206 persons from the general population. A two-way analysis of variance showed significant main effects (gender and colorectal cancer vs. healthy) for most EORTC QLQ-C30 scales, but a significant interaction effect was only found for diarrhea. This means that gender-associated differences specific for colorectal cancer patients were only found for diarrhea.


The vast majority of studies on gender-associated differences in quality of life compare male and female oncological patients and neglect the issue of the disease-specificity of such differences. Our study revealed that women and men suffering from colorectal cancer scored differently across many aspects of quality of life, but with the exception of diarrhea, these differences were also found in the general population, i.e. they indicated no gender-specific reaction to disease.


Colorectal cancer Gender Quality of life Symptoms General population 





Analysis of variance


Computer-based health evaluation system


Colorectal cancer


European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer


General population


Odds ratio


Quality of life questionnaire-core 30


Quality of life


Standard deviation


Standard error


Statistical package for the social sciences


Union internationale contre le cancer



We would like to thank Sandra Ehrenstrasser for her contribution to data collection, Jakob Pinggera and Stefan Zugal for help with software programming and Wolfgang Fleischhacker for thoughtful comments. Furthermore, we thank the “Arbeitskreis fuer Vorsorgemedizin—Tirol” for administrative assistance in the collection of data from the general population. The “Jubilaeumsfond” of the Austrian National Bank as well as the “Qualitaetsfoerderprogramm” of the state of Tyrol funded parts of the project financially.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johannes Giesinger
    • 1
  • Georg Kemmler
    • 1
  • Verena Mueller
    • 2
  • August Zabernigg
    • 2
  • Beate Mayrbaeurl
    • 3
  • Josef Thaler
    • 3
  • Dietmar Öfner
    • 4
  • Christian Pegger
    • 4
  • Gerhard Rumpold
    • 1
  • Barbara Weber
    • 5
  • Barbara Sperner-Unterweger
    • 1
  • Bernhard Holzner
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineKufstein County HospitalKufsteinAustria
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine IVWels County Hospital, A.ö. Krankenhaus der KreuzschwesternWelsAustria
  4. 4.Department of Visceral-, Transplant- and Thoracic SurgeryInnsbruck Medical UniversityInnsbruckAustria
  5. 5.Department of InformaticsUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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