Objectives: As the incidence of prostate cancer in the United States exceeds 330,000 in 1997, increasingly more men are faced with treatment choices for which there is no clear approach. At every stage of disease, these treatment choices may involve clinically equivalent modalities that differ in side effects and impact upon quality of life (QOL). Comprehensive, yet efficient, questionnaires are needed to measure QOL in patients with prostate cancer.
Methods: Developed as a disease-specific adjunct to the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT) measurement system, a 12-item prostate cancer subscale (PCS) was developed and tested in three independent samples: a subscale development sample (n = 43), validity sample 1 (n = 34), and validity sample 2 (n = 96). The 12 items ask about symptoms and problems specific to prostate cancer. These questions are added to the general (FACT-G) instrument, thereby comprising a 47-item questionnaire.
Results: Internal consistency of the PCS ranged from 0.65 to 0.69, with coefficients for FACT-G subscales and aggregated scores ranging from 0.61 to 0.90. Concurrent validity was confirmed by the ability to discriminate patients by disease stage, performance status, and baseline prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. Sensitivity to change in performance status and PSA score over a 2-month period suggested that some subscales of the FACT-Prostate (P) (including the PCS) are sensitive to meaningful clinical change.
Conclusions: Our findings support use of the FACT-P as a meaningful component of QOL evaluation in men undergoing therapy for prostate cancer.