A study of quality of life after surgery for cancer of the food pipe or stomach

Cancer type:

Oesophageal cancer
Stomach cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Other

This study was for people having surgery to remove cancer of their food pipe (oesophagus) or stomach.

More about this trial

Doctors often treat oesophageal cancer and stomach cancer by removing it with surgery. There are 2 different types of surgery people might have. They are a:
  • trans hiatal oesophagectomy which means having the operation through a cut in the abdomen (tummy) and neck
  • trans thoracic oesophagectomy, which is when the surgeon makes cuts in the abdomen and chest
As with all treatments, surgery can affect quality of life afterwards. But researchers weren’t sure how the 2 different types of surgery affected quality of life Open a glossary item and how long recovery takes. So they wanted to find out more. 
 
In this study, researchers asked people to fill in questionnaires before having surgery and at 6 and 12 months after surgery. 
 

Summary of results

The study team found people who had a trans hiatal oesophagectomy seemed to have a better quality of life after surgery. 
 
146 people who had their surgery at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital, London took part. 
  • 86 had the operation through a cut in their abdomen (tummy) and neck (a trans hiatal oesophagectomy).
  • 60 had the surgery through cuts in their abdomen and chest (trans thoracic oesophagectomy).
Everyone completed some questionnaires before and after surgery. These asked about different areas of health and general wellbeing. Such as:
  • how much physical activity they could do
  • how they were feeling emotionally
  • how surgery affected their daily activities and social role
  • if they had any symptoms
The researchers checked the number of people who completed the questionnaires after surgery. This was:
  • 111 at 6 months
  • 76 at 12 months
At 6 months, the researchers found that people who had a trans thoracic operation weren’t doing as well in their daily life as those who had a trans hiatal operation. 
 
This was 23 people (56%) who had a trans thoracic operation compared with 19 people (27%) who had a trans hiatal operation.
 
At 12 months, they found that people who had a trans thoracic operation had more problems with:
  • feeling and being sick
  • shortness of breath
  • constipation
In those who had trans thoracic surgery:
  • just over 2 out of 10 people (23%) felt sick or had vomiting
  • just under 3 out of 10 people (27%) had shortness of breath
  • just over 3 out 10 people (31%) had constipation
In those who had trans hiatal surgery:
  • 1 in every 10 people (10%) felt sick or had vomiting
  • a very small number of people (4%) had shortness of breath
  • a very small number of people (8%) had constipation
The researchers say the results suggest that people who had a trans hiatal oesophagectomy seemed to have a better quality of life at 6 and 12 months after surgery. They would like to do a similar study in a larger group of people. But there isn’t one planned at the moment.
 
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Jesper Lagergren

Supported by

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
King's College London
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Swedish Research Council

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

11134

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Around 1 in 5 people take part in clinical trials

3 phases of trials

Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.

Last reviewed:

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