With advances in treatment, colorectal cancer (CRC) is being transformed from a deadly disease into an illness that is increasingly curable. With this transformation has come increased interest in the unique problems, risks, needs, and concerns of survivors who have completed treatment and are cancer-free. Research has shown that physical and mental quality of life for CRC survivors was inferior compared with age-matched individuals without cancer. Although issues and symptoms were most prominent during the first 3 years, long-term effects of treatment can persist and include fatigue, sleep difficulty, fear of recurrence, anxiety, depression, negative body image, sensory neuropathy, gastrointestinal problems, urinary incontinence, and sexual dysfunction. The unique challenges and issues of CRC survivors can and should be addressed by health care providers and the research community to ensure effective interventions and models of care to manage these problems. This article discusses what is known about the long-term effects of CRC treatment on quality of life, the care of survivors, and existing models of survivorship care.
Crystal S. Denlinger and Andrea M. Barsevick
Edited by Kerrin G. Robinson
Joanne E. Mortimer, Andrea M. Barsevick, Charles L. Bennett, Ann M. Berger, Charles Cleeland, Shannon R. DeVader, Carmen Escalante, Jeffrey Gilreath, Arti Hurria, Tito R. Mendoza, and Hope S. Rugo
NCCN convened a committee of experts to make recommendations for future studies of cancer-related fatigue (CRF). The committee reviewed the current data on the incidence, clinical measurement, and treatment of CRF. The assessment of fatigue is largely derived from self-report questionnaires that address the symptom of fatigue, and do not correlate the presence of fatigue with change in physical activity. The committee developed a self-report questionnaire, NCCN Fatigue and Contributing Factors Inventory, which incorporates assessments of fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, distress, physical activity, and concurrent medications. A clinical research study using this measure in conjunction with the NCCN Breast Cancer Outcomes Database Project is planned. The committee noted a strong interaction among fatigue, pain, difficulty sleeping, and distress and recommended that future clinical research address these interactions.