Background: There is a paucity of evidence on changes in pelvic floor outcomes in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) following general oncology rehabilitation. Objective: In patients following surgery for CRC, to explore changes in pelvic floor muscle function before and after a general oncology rehabilitation program; and to compare pelvic floor symptoms in patients undergoing the rehabilitation program to a matched control group. Methods: This pilot study was conducted as an observational study nested within a prospective study evaluating the feasibility of a general oncology rehabilitation program for patients following surgery for abdomino-pelvic cancer. In this nested study, pelvic floor muscle function was measured in 10 participants with CRC (rehabilitation group) before and immediately after the 8-week rehabilitation program and at 6-month follow-up. Data of 10 matched participants from the prospective study who completed questionnaires only at the same assessment time points were used as a control group. Symptom measurement tools were the Australian Pelvic Floor Questionnaire (APFQ) and the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Bowel module (ICIQ-B). Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data on pelvic floor muscle function of the rehabilitation group, and repeated measures analysis of variance was used to assess within- and between-group changes in pelvic floor symptom scores over time in the rehabilitation group and control group matched for gender and level of tumor. Results: Scores in the bowel domain of the APFQ (p = 0.037) and bowel control domain of the ICIQ-B (p = 0.026) improved in the rehabilitation group only and the improvement in ICIQ-B was sustained at 6-month follow-up. There were no significant differences in bladder and bowel symptoms between the rehabilitation and matched control groups (p > 0.05) at any assessment time-point. Conclusions: Patients undergoing a general rehabilitation program following surgery for CRC demonstrated improved bowel symptoms from pre- to post-rehabilitation program; however, there were no differences when compared with matched controls who did not undertake rehabilitation. Further studies with larger sample sizes and longer-term follow-up are needed confirm these findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation