Background: Little is known about quality of life after bladder cancer treatment. This common cancer is managed using treatments that can affect urinary, sexual and bowel function.
Methods: To understand quality of life and inform future care, the Department of Health (England) surveyed adults surviving bladder cancer 1-5 years after diagnosis. Questions related to disease status, co-existing conditions, generic health (EQ-5D), cancer-generic (Social Difficulties Inventory) and cancer-specific outcomes (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy - Bladder).
Results: In total, 673 (54%) patients responded; including 500 (74%) men and 539 (80%) with co-existing conditions. Most respondents received endoscopic treatment (60%), while 92 (14%) and 99 (15%) received radical cystectomy or radiotherapy, respectively. Questionnaire completion rates varied (51-97%). Treatment groups reported ≥1 problem using EQ-5D generic domains (59-74%). Usual activities was the most common concern. Urinary frequency was common after endoscopy (34-37%) and radiotherapy (44-50%). Certain populations were more likely to report generic, cancer-generic and cancer-specific problems; notably those with co-existing long-term conditions and those treated with radiotherapy.
Conclusion: The study demonstrates the importance of assessing patient-reported outcomes in this population. There is a need for larger, more in-depth studies to fully understand the challenges patients with bladder cancer face.