Background: Most studies of treatment outcomes in men with localized prostate carcinoma have emphasized sexual, urinary, and bowel symptoms with the assumption that they have an impact on quality of life. However, very few studies have directly examined and compared the impact of these symptoms on overall and cancer specific quality of life.
Methods: The authors examined 783 incident cases of localized prostate carcinoma, diagnosed from 1993 to 1998, and 1928 age-matched healthy controls from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study cohort. Information on frequency of ejaculation and urinary symptoms were collected before cancer diagnosis. After cancer diagnosis, the authors mailed a questionnaire including the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 Health Status Survey (SF-36), the Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System-Short Form (CARES-SF), and the University of California at Los Angeles Prostate Cancer Index in 1998.
Results: Cases had slightly lower scores on most of the SF-36 scales and reported much more bother from sexual, urinary, and bowel symptoms compared with healthy controls. Among prostate carcinoma patients, bowel symptoms had the greatest negative impact on quality of life, followed by sexual and urinary symptoms. As expected, treatment-related symptoms were associated with the physical domains of quality of life, but psychosocial domains were just as strongly affected.
Conclusions: Patients and health care providers need to consider the potential mental quality-of-life impacts associated with prostate carcinoma treatment symptoms when making treatment decisions. Even after patients have completed cancer treatment, significant health impairments may remain. Health care providers should continue to address the mental and physical well-being of prostate carcinoma patients in follow-up care.
Copyright 2002 American Cancer Society. DOI 10.1002/cncr.10248