Background Colorectal cancer is a common disease and its prevalence is second to that of breast cancer worldwide. In Saudi Arabia the disease is ranked second after breast cancer and accounts for 8.5% of all tumours. Evaluation of Quality of life (QOL), anxiety and depression of such patients, as well as neurocognitive properties, is important to assess the impact of both malignancy and/or exposure to treatments including chemotherapy and surgery.
Purpose To assess the neuropsychology of a group of Saudi colon cancer patients 6 months after treatment was completed.
Materials and Methods Patients (18- 60 years) were recruited from the oncology clinic at King Khaled University Hospital (KKUH) at Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Exclusion criteria included smoking, psychiatric or cerebrovascular disease, sensory impairment, abnormal electrolytes, anaemia or uncontrolled blood pressure. Healthy volunteers were randomly recruited from the same hospital, however the availability of matched age controls was difficult. Cognition was assessed using the Rey Auditory-Verbal Test RAVLT (learning & memory); the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure (RCF, visuo-spatial organisation and visuo-spatial memory); semantic verbal fluency (executive function); letter cancellation (attention); digit-symbol (sustained attention, visual searching, visual sequencing). The Arabic version of 36-item Short-Form Health Survey SF-36 and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) were also used to assess QOL, anxiety, and depression, respectively.
Results A total of 32 colon cancer patients in remission were recruited, their mean age was 44.8 years. 23 of them were males (71.9%), while their mean years of education was 13.1 ± 4.06 years. Healthy controls (n = 36), were significantly younger than the patients (34 Years) (t(66) = −4.2, P < 0.05). There were no differences between the groups in terms of QOL, anxiety, depression, attention, executive function, oral and visuospatial memory. Healthy controls had significantly better RCF recall task (t (67) = 2.61, p < 0.01) and delayed recall task (t(67) = 3.16, p = 0.002) than colon cancer patients.
Conclusions This study indicates that neither colon cancer, nor its treatment, has any significant impact on the psychological well-being of the patients in comparison to healthy controls. The significant differences in recall may reflect the differences in age between the groups.
No conflict of interest.
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