Purpose: To assess long-term quality of life (QoL) impact of treatments in localized prostate cancer patients treated with radical prostatectomy, external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy.
Material and methods: Observational, prospective cohort study with pre-treatment QoL evaluation and follow-up until five years after treatment. 704 patients with low or intermediate risk localized prostate cancer were consecutively recruited in 2003-2005. QoL was measured by the EPIC questionnaire, with urinary irritative-obstructive, incontinence, bowel, sexual, and hormonal scores (ranging 0-100).
Results: Brachytherapy's QoL impact was restricted to the urinary domain, Generalized Estimating Equation models showed score changes at five years of -12.0 (95% CI=-15.0, -9.0) in incontinence and -5.3 (95% CI=-7.5, -3.1) in irritative-obstructive scales. Compared to brachytherapy, radical prostatectomy fared +3.3 (95% CI=+0.0, +6.5) points better in irritative-obstructive but -17.1 (95% CI=-22.7, -11.5) worse in incontinence. Sexual deterioration was observed in radical prostatectomy (-19.1; 95% CI=-25.1, -13.1) and external radiotherapy groups (-7.5; 95% CI=-12.5, -2.5).
Conclusions: Brachytherapy is the treatment causing the least impact on QoL except for moderate urinary irritative-obstructive symptoms. Our study provides novel long-term valuable information for clinical decision making, supporting brachytherapy as a possible alternative to radical prostatectomy for patients seeking an attempted curative treatment, while limiting the risk for urinary incontinence and sexual impact on QoL.
Keywords: EPIC; External beam radiotherapy; Prostate brachytherapy; Quality of life; Radical prostatectomy.
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