How is quality of life in prostate cancer patients influenced by modern treatment? The Wallenberg symposium

  • Altwein J
  • Ekman P
  • Barry M
 et al. 
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Objectives. To identify complications of various forms of treatments for prostate cancer and their influence on patients' quality of life with the ultimate goal of suggesting a Quality of Life Questionnaire specific for prostate cancer for further validation. Methods. The literature was screened for reports on the more common complications following various forms of therapy for prostate cancer. Frequencies were summarized. The scarce literature reporting on quality of life in prostate cancer was reviewed and conflicting data were discussed and reassessed. Suggested questionnaires used in other studies were critically scrutinized and the various questions recorded. Results. Following radical surgery, impotence and incontinence were the most common complications reducing patients' quality of life. The literature was not uniform with regard to whether loss of sexual function was regarded as a worse complication than loss of urinary control. Following radiotherapy, intestinal problems and sexual dysfunction were the dominating side-effects. Quality of life was best preserved in surveillance-only series. Following endocrine therapy, not only impotence and hot flushes were focused upon, but also mental dysfunction and intestinal dysfunction from nonsteroidal antiandrogens; additonally, the importance of effective palliation was highlighted. A Quality of Life Questionnaire should contain general domains relevant to cancer patients, cancer-specific questions, and prostate-cancer-specific questions. The latter group includes: worry for prostate cancer and its prognosis, bone/pelvic pain, lower urinary tract symptoms, urinary incontinence, urinary diversion, bowel function, sexual function, endocrine effects, and satisfaction with medical care for prostate cancer. Conclusions. A modern trial of prostate cancer treatment should be regarded as insufficient without including a validated Quality of Life Questionnaire.

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