Background: In low-income countries, oesophageal cancer often presents at an advanced stage, leaving patients with limited curative treatment options. Furthermore, palliative treatments such as oesophageal stents or brachytherapy are lacking. This has a detrimental effect on their quality of life. In this study, we investigated the health-related quality of life of patients with oesophageal cancer at a tertiary hospital in Ethiopia.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Tikur Anbessa Specialised Tertiary Hospital in Ethiopia. The validated Amharic version of the questionnaire of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire Cancer 30 (EORTC QLQ C-30) and the oesophageal cancer disease-specific questionnaire QLQ-OES18 were used to assess the quality of life of each patient.
Results: The overall mean score for the EORTC QLQ C-30 was 35.43 (SD 18.04). The mean scores for the functional scales revealed that cognitive function was the highest, whereas role function was the lowest. The symptom scale results showed the highest score for pain and the lowest for diarrhoea. Dysphagia, choking, role functioning and financial difficulty correlated with the quality of life of patients with oesophageal cancer.
Conclusion: Dysphagia, choking, role functioning and financial difficulty are important factors that affect the quality of life of patients with oesophageal cancer patients. Increasing the availability of palliative treatments for dysphagia to improve the quality of life in patients with oesophageal cancer is recommended.