A207: The Long-Term And Late Effects Of The Diagnosis And Treatment Of Colorectal Cancer
1University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the UK. Through early detection and improved treatments more people than ever are surviving this disease. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the cornerstones of management but these invasive treatments can cause a number of long-term and late effects. Using qualitative methods this study aimed to; explore peoples experiences with long-term and late effects of colorectal cancer, how these effects impacted on their lives and how participants managed them.
Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 15 participants who had completed curative treatment. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using the Framework approach to identify themes and categorise text data.
Many long-term and late effects of colorectal cancer were explored including bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, pain, metastatic disease and cognitive dysfunction. These effects caused distress for many and were linked to depression and social limitation. Previously unidentified long-term effects included decreased libido and joint pain which respondents attributed to chemotherapy. Anxiety and depression were found predominantly to be late effects.
Management of long-term and late effects was varied with healthcare services often ineffective.
Insight gained into long-term and late effects and their treatment, indicated that many participants suffered as a result of their after-effects and had unmet health needs. It adds a qualitative insight into an area where quantitative research has already been conducted. Improvements in cancer follow-up could offer opportunities to effectively identify, manage and monitor these effects. Further interventional studies are required to develop effective care pathways to achieve optimal care.