Psychological and functional effect of different primary treatments for prostate cancer: A comparative prospective analysis

Urol Oncol. 2018 Jul;36(7):340.e7-340.e21. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2018.03.022. Epub 2018 Apr 26.


Objectives: The aim of the study was to comparatively evaluate the psychological and functional effect of different primary treatments in patients with prostate cancer.

Methods and materials: We conducted a single-center prospective non randomized study in a real-life setting using functional and psychological questionnaires in prostate cancer cases submitted to radical prostatectomy, external radiotherapy, or active surveillance. Totally, 220 cases were evaluated at baseline and during the follow-up at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month interval after therapy. Patients self-completed questionnaires on urinary symptoms and incontinence, erectile and bowel function, psychological distress (PD), anxiety, and depression.

Results: Several significant differences among the three groups of treatment were found regarding the total score of the functional questionnaires. Regarding PD, cases submitted to radical prostatectomy showed stable scores during all the 12 months of follow-up whereas cases submitted to radiotherapy showed a rapid significant worsening of scores at 1-month interval and persistent also at 6- and 12-month interval. Cases submitted to active surveillance showed a slight and slow worsening of scores only at 12-month interval. PD and depression resulted to be more associated with urinary symptoms than sexual function worsening whereas anxiety resulted to be associated either with urinary symptoms or sexual function worsening.

Conclusions: The results of our comparative and prospective analysis could be used to better inform treatment decision-making. Patients and their teams might wish to know how functional and psychological aspects may differently be influenced by treatment choice.

Keywords: Active surveillance; Prostate neoplasm; Psychological distress; Radical prostatectomy; Radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Brachytherapy / psychology*
  • Decision Making*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / psychology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatectomy / psychology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / psychology