The study covered in this summary was published on researchsquare.com as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.
Patients with gastrointestinal cancer face a high risk for constipation, typically greater than with other cancers.
The researchers found diet and medication-related factors represented the primary risk factors for constipation in this patient population.
The Constipation Risk Assessment Scale (CRAS), a standard tool to assess constipation, can be revised to include risks specific to gastrointestinal cancer.
Why This Matters
Constipation is a significant cause of morbidity and distress in gastrointestinal cancer.
Few studies have examined the risk factors associated with constipation.
Risk assessment and prevention should be routine after diagnosis to improve outcomes and quality of life.
The team surveyed 190 patients in China with gastrointestinal cancer, using the Chinese version of the CRAS survey (CRAS-C).
Subjects were on average 59 years old, and the majority either had gastric or colorectal cancer.
A CRAS-C score of 11 points or higher was considered high-risk for constipation.
The mean CRAS-C score was 13.2.
Overall, 139 patients (73.2%) scored 11 points or higher.
The top 10 risk factors were insufficient liquid intake (81.1%), failure to consume bran products daily (78.9%), insufficient fiber intake (77.9%), antiemetics (74.7%), cytotoxic chemotherapy (52.6%), colorectal/abdominal diseases (42.6%), female sex (35.3%), opioid analgesics (26.8%), calcium channel blockers (16.3%), and endocrine disorders (14.2%).
Being constipated for the majority of the previous 3 months, ascites, and an ECOG Performance Status score of 1 or higher — factors not assessed by CRAS — were also associated with constipation.
In a previous study of 302 patients with multiple cancer types, 47% scored 11 points or higher.
Subjects were enrolled through a convenience sample, which might have biased the results.
Patients were surveyed once so changes in constipation risk factors over time were not assessed.
The Peking University Cancer Hospital's Science Foundation funded the work.
The investigators didn't report any relevant conflicts of interest.
This is a summary of a preprint research study, "Risk and Main Contributing Factors for Constipation in Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer: A Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study in China," led by Xiaoxiao Ma of the Peking University Cancer Hospital & Institute. The study has not been peer reviewed. The full text can be found at researchsquare.com.
M. Alexander Otto is a physician assistant with a master's degree in medical science and a journalism degree from Newhouse. He is an award-winning medical journalist who has worked for several major news outlets before joining Medscape and also an MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lead Image: iStock/Getty Images
Send news tips to email@example.com.
Cite this: Team Identifies Top Constipation Risk Factors in GI Cancer - Medscape - Mar 24, 2022.