Self-rated health as a tool for estimating health-adjusted life expectancy among patients newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer: a preliminary study

Qual Life Res. 2011 Jun;20(5):713-21. doi: 10.1007/s11136-010-9805-3. Epub 2010 Dec 4.


Purpose: Localized prostate cancer (LPC) patients are faced with numerous treatment options, including observation or watchful waiting. The choice of treatment largely depends on their baseline health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE). By consensus, physicians recommend treatment if the patient's HALE is ten or more years. However, the estimation of HALE is difficult. Although subjective by nature, self-rated health (SRH) is a robust predictor of mortality. We studied the usefulness of SRH in estimating HALE in patients who are considering treatment for LPC.

Methods: A total of 144 LPC patients from a large urology private practice in Norfolk, Virginia, were surveyed before they had chosen a treatment option.

Results: HALE determined by SRH correlated well with objective health measures and was higher than age-based life expectancy by an average of 2 years. The observed difference in life expectancy due to SRH adjustment was higher among patients with a better socioeconomic and health profile.

Conclusions: SRH is an easy-to-use indicator of HALE in LPC patients. A table for HALE estimation by age and SRH is provided for men aged 70-80 years. Additional research with larger samples and prospective study designs are needed before the SRH method can be used in primary care and urology settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Decision Making
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Self Report*
  • Social Support
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Urologic Diseases / pathology
  • Urologic Diseases / psychology