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Quality of life in women undergoing urinary diversion for bladder cancer: results of a multicenter study among long-term disease-free survivors

Mauro Gacci15*, Omar Saleh1, Tommaso Cai3, John L Gore4, Carolina D’Elia3, Andrea Minervini1, Lorenzo Masieri1, Claudia Giannessi1, Michele Lanciotti1, Virginia Varca2, Alchiede Simonato2, Sergio Serni1, Giorgio Carmignani2 and Marco Carini1

Author Affiliations

1 Urologic Clinic I, University of Florence, AOU Careggi, Florence, Italy

2 Urologic department, University of Genova, Genova, Italy

3 Department of Urology, Santa Chiara Hospital, Trento, Italy

4 Department of Urology, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA

5 Department of Urology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2013, 11:43  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-43

Published: 12 March 2013



Women undergoing radical cystectomy (RC) and urinary diversion for bladder cancer experience substantial limitations in health-related quality of life (HRQOL). However, the level of discomfort caused by different urinary diversion has been never evaluated in long term survivors. The aim of this multicenter study is to evaluate differences in HRQOL among recurrence-free women undergoing cutaneous ureterostomy (CUS), Bricker's ileal conduit (BK-IC) and Orthotopic neobladder VIP (ONB-VIP) in disease-free females treated with radical cystectomy (RC), with long-term follow up (mean 60.1 months; range 36-122 months).

Materials and methods

All consecutively treated female patients from two urological institutions who underwent RC and urinary diversion from January 2000 to December 2008, with no evidence of tumor recurrence at a minimum follow up of 36 months, were included. Patients received the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) generic (QLQ-C30) and bladder cancer-specific instruments (QLQ-BLM30) and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy for Bladder Cancer (FACT-BL). Clinical data and questionnaire results were analyzed in order to evaluate the HRQOL differences among diversion groups.


We identified 37 females (median age: 68, range 45–82 years), including 12 status-post CUS, 16 who underwent BK-IC, and 9 who underwent ONB-VIP. Most were healthy (24/37 with no comorbidities, 4/37 Charlson 1-2, 9/37 Charlson 3 or greater – we didn’t considered bladder cancer in Charlson evaluation because bladder cancer was the main inclusion criteria). Women undergoing CUS endorsed worse FACT-BL scores compared with BK-IC and ONB-VIP patients, worse HRQOL regarding physical and emotional well-being (p=0.008 and p=0.02, respectively), and a trend toward worse EORTC QLQ-C30 scores for appetite loss and fatigue (p=0.05 for both).


In our study long-term disease-free females treated with CUS endorsed worse HRQOL compared with women who underwent BK-IC or ONB-VIP, mostly due to worse physical and emotional perception of their body image.

Urinary diversion; Orthotopic urinary reservoirs; Bladder cancer; Quality of life