Purpose: To investigate the course of quality of life (QoL) among prostate cancer patients treated with external beam radiotherapy and to compare the results with QoL of a normal age-matched reference population.
Patients and methods: The study population was composed of 227 prostate cancer patients, treated with radiotherapy. The EORTC QLQ-C30 was used to assess QoL before radiotherapy and six months, one year, two years and three years after completion of radiotherapy. Mixed model analyses were used to investigate longitudinal changes in QoL. QoL of prostate cancer patients was compared to that of a normative cohort using a multivariate analysis of covariance.
Results: A significant decline in QoL was observed after radiotherapy (p<0.001). The addition of hormonal therapy to radiotherapy was associated with a lower level of role functioning. Patients with coronary heart disease and or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma had a significantly worse course in QoL. Although statistically significant, all differences were classified as small or trivial.
Conclusion: Prostate cancer patients experience a small worsening of QoL as compared with baseline and as compared with a normal reference population. As co-morbidity modulates patients' post-treatment QoL, a proper assessment of co-morbidity should be included in future longitudinal analyses on QoL.
Keywords: Population-based; Prostate cancer; Quality of life; Radiotherapy.
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