Professor Tae Hart
Colorectal cancer survivors have better quality of life: research
New research conducted by psychology professor Dr. Tae Hart shows that colorectal cancer survivors can go on to have equivalent, or in some realms, better overall quality of life than their peers, despite surgery and treatment.
According to professor Hart, who has focused her research on all the different stages of survivorship for colorectal cancer, the long-term outcomes for individuals 15 years post-diagnosis is quite positive.
“In several areas, the participants (who had survived colorectal cancer) were exactly the same as their peers,” Dr. Hart said. “In areas like levels of fatigue, and emotional, physical and functional quality of life, their results were identical. In some areas, like rates of depression, social quality of life and overall quality of life, people who had survived cancer actually scored higher than their peers who had never had a cancer diagnosis.”
This study gives Dr. Hart a starting point to explore the reasons why individuals with a colorectal cancer diagnosis enjoy an above average quality of life in spite of having to overcome obstacles. Some theories she hopes to explore include the phenomenon of positive growth after trauma, and the rallying of friends and community after a cancer diagnosis.
This research was supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the U.S. National Cancer Institute and was conducted in partnership with the Zane Cohen Centre for Digestive Diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital, using data gathered from the Ontario Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry.
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Photo credit: Carrie Duncan