The following article features coverage from the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium 2021 meeting. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores were low in young people (≤50 years) who survived colorectal cancer (CRC), indicating a need for expanded counseling strategies and other interventions aimed at maintaining HRQOL in this subpopulation, according to the results of a cross-sectional survey presented at the 2021 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. Insights from the survey, which was based on the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT-C) questionnaire, a medium that is used to assess HRQOL globally and notably includes a CRC-specific scale as well as emotional, physical, social, and functional well-being domains, also showed that social and functional well-being were “significantly worse” for longer-term survivors vs those who had more recently received a CRC diagnosis.1

The sample comprised 235 individuals (mean patient age, 35.6 years; 62% male) aged 50 years and under. Miller et al compared HRQOL outcomes between survivors who were 6 to 18 months from CRC diagnosis or recent disease relapse vs those in the 19 to 36 month range.

In the general population, the mean HRQOL score was 68.11 out of a possible 136.0. Emotional and functional well-being scores were especially low, at 11.84 (of 24.0) and 12.11 (of 28.0), respectively. Social well-being was reported as 14.86 (of 28.0) and physical well-being, 15.15 (of 28.0) among all participants, regardless of CRC diagnosis/time of relapse.

Continue Reading

“For physical and emotional well-being, significantly higher scores were observed in longer-term vs more recently diagnosed survivors. In contrast, social well-being scores were significantly lower in longer-term vs more recently diagnosed survivors,” Kimberly A. Miller, PhD, said during the poster presentation.

The physical well-being score in the 78 patients in the 19 to 36 month range was 16.74 vs 14.39 (P <.01) in the 157 patients in the 6 to 18 month range (emotional well-being, 12.67 vs 11.43; P <.01). Interestingly, the social well-being score was 14.00 and 15.24 in the longer- and shorter-term patient subsets, respectively (P <.01).

The data demonstrate that more effective interventions, preferably those with a focus on social well-being, are needed to maintain and improve HRQOL in this age-specific population, particularly as emerging epidemiological data underscore an increasing incidence of CRC in younger patients.2 Existing evidence indicates that there has been an approximate 51% increase in CRC diagnoses in patients less than 50 years of age since 1994.

Disclosures: Some of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry and/or the medical device industry. For a full list of disclosures, please refer to the original study. This clinical trial was supported by the Aflac Children’s Oncology Group.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s coverage of the ASCO GI 2021 meeting by visiting the conference page.


  1. Miller KA, Stal J, Gallagher P et al. Health-related quality of life and time from diagnosis among young adult colorectal cancer survivors. Presented at: Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium; January 15-27, 2021. Abstract 34.
  2. Draft recommendation statement; colorectal cancer: screening. US Preventive Services Task Force. October 27, 2020. Accessed October 28, 2020.