OBJECTIVES - To analyze the quality of life and psychological adjustment after surgical therapy for localized renal cell carcinoma.
METHODS - Postal questionnaires including measures of quality of life (SF-36) and the impact of the stress of cancer (Impact of Events Scale) were completed by 97 patients who had undergone radical or partial nephrectomy for localized renal cell carcinoma. Data were analyzed for the group as a whole and comparing the partial nephrectomy and radical nephrectomy groups. The variables examined included the impact of the type of partial nephrectomy (elective versus mandatory) and the amount of self-reported renal tissue remaining.
RESULTS - The quality of life for the group as a whole was good, with no significant differences between the sample and U.S. norms for an age and sex-matched community sample on both the mental and physical health composite scores. Having undergone a partial versus a radical nephrectomy did not influence the patients' overall quality of life. Multiple linear regression modeling demonstrated that having more remaining renal parenchyma was an independent predictor of better self-reported physical health on the SF-36 (P <0.001). The entire sample had low mean scores on both avoidance and intrusion on the Impact of Events Scale, suggesting a lack of daily anxiety about cancer. Multiple linear regression modeling showed that patients who reported having more remaining renal parenchyma had lower intrusion and avoidance scores (P = 0.002 and 0.01, respectively). Multiple logistic regression modeling also demonstrated that the patients' perception of their remaining renal parenchyma was associated with less concern about cancer recurrence (P = 0.018) and less impact of cancer on patients' overall health (P <0.001).
CONCLUSIONS - Most survivors of localized kidney cancer have normal physical and mental health regardless of the type of nephrectomy performed. The quality of life is better for patients with more renal parenchyma remaining after surgery for localized renal cell carcinoma.