METHODS: The cross sectional study was conducted from June to September 2011 at three public tertiary hospitals with the EORTC QLQ C-30 questionnaire in addition to face to face interview and review of medical records of 100 respondents.
RESULTS: The mean age was 57.3 (SD 11.9) years with 56.0% are males and 44.0% females, 62% of Malay ethnicity, 30% Chinese, 7% Indian and 1% Sikh. Majority were educated up to secondary level (42%) and 90% respondents had CRC stages III and IV. Mean global health status (GHS) score was 79.1 (SD 21.4). Mean scores for functional status (physical, emotional, role, cognitive, social) rangeds between 79.5 (SD 26.6) to 92.2 (SD 13.7). Mean symptom scores (fatigue, pain, nausea/vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, dyspnoea, loss of appetite) ranged between 4.00 (SD 8.58) to 20.7 (SD 30.6). Respondents role function significantly deteriorates with increasing stage of the disease (p=0.044). Females had worse symptoms of pain (p=0.022), fatigue (p=0.031) and dyspnoea (p=0.031). Mean insomnia (p=0.006) and diarrhea (p=0.024) demonstrated significant differences between age groups.
CONCLUSION: QOL in CRC patients in this study was comparable to that in other studies done in developed countries. Pain, fatigue and dyspnoea are worse among female CRC patients. Given that functions deteriorates with advanced stage of the disease at diagnosis, a systematic screening programme to detect cases as early as possible is essential nationwide.