Background: Treatment of localized prostate carcinoma (LPC) using radiotherapy (RT) can induce disturbances in a patient's quality of life (QOL) and urinary and intestinal function. Late symptoms and QOL were evaluated in a randomized trial between RT and deferred treatment (DT).
Methods: Quality of life was evaluated with European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer's QLQ-C30 (+3) formula. Urinary and intestinal problems were evaluated with a validated symptom specific self-assessment questionnaire, QUFW94. The questionnaires were sent to 108 randomized patients with LPC and to an age-matched control group (n = 68). Mean age was 72 years. Mean total dose was 65 grays (Gy; 62.3-70 Gy). The median follow-up time from randomization was 40.6 months for the RT group and 30.4 months for the DT group.
Results: Social functioning was the only QOL scale in which a significant difference was found between the two patient groups and compared with the control group. Multivariate regression analysis showed that hematuria, incontinence, mucus, and planning of daily activities in response to intestinal problems caused this decrease in QOL in the RT group. A significant increase of intestinal problems was observed in the RT versus DT groups regarding mucus, stool leakage, intestinal blood, and planning of daily activity in response to intestinal problems.
Conclusions: The RT patients showed increased levels of minor intestinal side effects compared with the DT patients and the controls, but the RT patients reported no decreased QOL except for decreased social functioning. This could be because this group developed coping skills or because of a low magnitude of side effects to influence the QOL.
Copyright 2001 American Cancer Society.