Background: The objective of this study was to describe prospectively quality of life (QOL) before and after radiotherapy for patients with prostate carcinoma.
Methods: Forty-three patients with T1-T3 prostate carcinoma who underwent conformal external beam radiation therapy were randomized either to the complete European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QOL questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) or the Medical Outcomes Study Group Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) at baseline, at 3 weeks and 6 weeks after initial treatment, and at 6 weeks and 5 months after the completion of radiotherapy. The measures were self-reported patient QOL, and values are given as the mean +/- standard error of the mean. Changes in QOL are described from baseline to the end of treatment in both questionnaire groups.
Results: Emotional role functioning, as measured with the SF-36 questionnaire, significantly improved from 68.2 +/- 9.9 at baseline to 93.3 +/- 5.2 at the end of therapy (P = 0.02). The EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire revealed consistent values of emotional functioning during treatment (72.7 +/- 5.9 at baseline) but showed a significant improvement 6 weeks after therapy (89.0 +/- 4.4; P = 0.01). Role functioning deteriorated from 80.1 +/- 6.5 at baseline to 62.5 +/- 8.8 at the end of radiotherapy (P = 0.02). Symptoms of fatigue were shown to increase significantly from 26.9 +/- 6.0 at baseline to 37.7 +/- 7.6 at the end of therapy (P = 0.02). No significant changes in the other dimensions were observed in either questionnaire.
Conclusions: After radiotherapy for prostate carcinoma, patients experience a temporary deterioration of fatigue and role functioning, as measured with the EORTC QLQ-C-30. Despite physical deterioration, the authors observed an improvement in emotional functioning scores with both questionnaires. This may have been due to psychological adaptation and coping.
Copyright 2000 American Cancer Society.