Background: Preferences, or utilities, for health outcomes are central in prostate cancer decision-making. Utilities can be elicited directly from patients using standard techniques, or indirectly, using questionnaires that incorporate preference weights from community members.
Objectives: To evaluate directly elicited and indirectly elicited (questionnaire-derived, community-weighted) utilities for prostate cancer outcomes and the effects of sexual, urinary, and bowel dysfunction on them.
Materials and methods: Utilities for the current health of 141 prostate cancer patients, recruited from ambulatory clinics, were elicited directly with the Patient Oriented Prostate Utility Scale, rating scale (PORPUS-U(RS)) and standard gamble (PORPUS-U(SG)) subscales. Patients completed the Health Utilities Index (HUI) and Quality of Well Being Scale (QWB), utility instruments incorporating community preferences, and the UCLA Prostate Cancer Index.
Results: Patients' treatments included radical prostatectomy (18%), radiation (60%), and hormonal (42%). Mean utility scores for current health were 0.65 (QWB), 0.79 (PORPUS-U(RS)), 0.80 (HUI), 0.86 (PORPUS-U(SG)). Utility decrements for dysfunction were small (0.08-0.14 [sexual], 0.06 to 0.13 [urinary], and 0.01 to 0.13 [bowel]), and even smaller when adjusted for concomitant changes in other quality of life (QOL) domains.
Conclusions: Patients' directly elicited utilities for their own health were higher than community-derived utilities obtained from HUI and QWB administration to the same patients. HUI scores of these patients were similar to those of age-matched Canadian men. Sexual, urinary, and bowel problems were common but had less impact on overall QOL than reported in previous utility studies. These results weaken the argument that prostate cancer screening and treatment should be limited because of severe and debilitative side effects.