Oncology Section EDGE Task Force on Urogenital Cancer: A Systematic Review of Measures for Incontinence

Compared to the general population, women and men with urogenital and colorectal cancer experience higher rates of urinary and fecal incontinence. Although a variety of measures exist to assess these areas, currently, there are no guidelines recommending which outcomes rehabilitation professionals should administer to examine these impairments in those with cancer.

The aim of this study was to identify outcome measures for assessing urinary and fecal incontinence and evaluate their psychometric data and applicability to the cancer population. Multiple electronic databases (CINAHL, Medline, PsycInfo) were reviewed using specific search terms to locate articles that identify outcome measures assessing urinary and fecal incontinence. As part of a larger effort to identify outcome measures for both incontinence and sexual dysfunction, 1118 articles were initially identified, 228 articles were reviewed, and 37 outcome measures were selected for analysis, 13 of which were related to urinary and fecal incontinence. Each incontinence outcome measure was independently reviewed and rated by two reviewers using the Cancer EDGE Task Force Outcome Measure Rating Form. Any discrepancies between reviewers were discussed and an overall recommendation for each outcome measure was made using the 4-point Cancer EDGE Task Force Rating Scale.

The Task Force was able to highly recommend 1 measure addressing urinary incontinence (American Urological Association Symptom Index) and 2 measures assessing both urinary and fecal incontinence (Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory – Short Form, Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire – Short Form). The Task Force also recommended two measures of urinary incontinence that demonstrated strong psychometric properties, but had not yet been evaluated in the cancer population (Incontinence Quality of Life Questionnaire, International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire – Short Form). The Task Force was unable to recommend any measures that solely addressed fecal incontinence.

Five of the 13 outcome measures assessing urinary incontinence and two of the 13 measures assessing both urinary and fecal incontinence demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties and application to the urogenital cancer population and are thereby recommended for use by the Task Force.