Quality of life continues to change long-term after treatment for prostate cancer

May 10, 2004

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Four to eight years after men undergo treatment for prostate cancer, they continue to see changes - both positive and negative - in their quality of life because of that treatment, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System and Harvard Medical School report.

While previous research has documented the effects of prostate cancer treatment on quality of life two years after treatment occurs, this is the first study to look at these issues beyond five years after treatment.

Researchers compared outcomes for men who had undergone surgery, external radiation and brachytherapy, a type of radiation in which seeds are implanted inside the prostate. Results of the study will be presented May 10 at the American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

Researchers surveyed 1,008 men with and without a history of prostate cancer about quality of life issues, including urinary problems, sexual dysfunction, bowel problems and hormonal concerns. The study participants with prostate cancer had previously been surveyed an average of 2.5 years after their treatment. At this second contact, the men were on average more than six years post-treatment. Current responses were compared against the men without prostate cancer and to the previous survey responses.

"Over the long term, some men who are treated for prostate cancer may continue to have varying degrees of urinary, sexual or bowel dysfunction when compared to men without prostate cancer. When we looked beyond two years of follow-up, we saw quality of life outcomes continue to change for men treated with either type of radiation - some for the better and some for the worse," says lead author David Miller, M.D., a fellow in Urology at the U-M Medical School.

Aging may have contributed to some of these changes, as the external radiation patients were older than those who had undergone surgery, he notes. For men who had surgery, quality of life tended to be stable and their situation at two years was similar to their situation after more than six years.

Regardless of the treatment they received, sexual function received the lower scores than other side effects among prostate cancer survivors, who reported 50 percent lower quality of life in that area compared to men who had not had prostate cancer. The study authors suggest more use of medications and therapies for sexual dysfunction may be beneficial.

"Overall, men are doing quite well in terms of quality of life, regardless of the type of treatment for prostate cancer," Miller says.

Each of the three treatments for prostate cancer studied here are a viable choice for most men diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the research to date does not show one treatment is more effective than the others. That leaves it up to men to weigh the benefits and risks of each treatment and decide which best fits their lifestyle.

"The ability to more precisely characterize long-term quality of life among prostate cancer survivors is essential for several reasons. Newly diagnosed patients can consider this information when making decisions about their treatment options. And men who have already been treated can anticipate these changes in functional status and look for ways to cope. In addition, urologists and radiation oncologists can look for ways to refine these therapies to treat the cancer while minimizing the side effects," Miller says.

In addition to Miller, study authors are Martin Sanda, M.D., director of the Prostate Cancer Care Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; Rodney Dunn, UMHS research associate; Hector Pimentel; James Montie, M.D., professor and chair of Urology; Howard Sandler, M.D., professor of Radiation Oncology; P. William McLaughlin, M.D., professor of Radiation Oncology; and John Wei, M.D., assistant professor of Urology.
Funding for the study was from the National Institutes of Health and the U-M Department of Urology.

University of Michigan Health System

Related Prostate Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Low risk of cancer spread on active surveillance for early prostate cancer
Men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer have very low rates - one percent or less - of cancer spread (metastases) or death from prostate cancer, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Urology®, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA).

ESMO 2020: Breast cancer drug set to transform prostate cancer treatment
A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancer can extend the lives of some men with prostate cancer and should become a new standard treatment for the disease, concludes a major trial which is set to change clinical practice.

Major trial shows breast cancer drug can hit prostate cancer Achilles heel
A drug already licensed for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers is more effective than targeted hormone therapy at keeping cancer in check in some men with advanced prostate cancer, a major clinical trial reports.

The Lancet: Prostate cancer study finds molecular imaging could transform management of patients with aggressive cancer
Results from a randomised controlled trial involving 300 prostate cancer patients find that a molecular imaging technique is more accurate than conventional medical imaging and recommends the scans be introduced into routine clinical practice.

Common genetic defect in prostate cancer inspires path to new anti-cancer drugs
Researchers found that, in prostate cancer, a mutation leading to the loss of one allele of a tumor suppressor gene known as PPP2R2A is enough to worsen a tumor caused by other mutations.

First prostate cancer therapy to target genes delays cancer progression
For the first time, prostate cancer has been treated based on the genetic makeup of the cancer, resulting in delayed disease progression, delayed time to pain progression, and potentially extending lives in patients with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer, reports a large phase 3 trial.

Men taking medications for enlarged prostate face delays in prostate cancer diagnosis
University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers report that men treated with medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) experienced a two-year delay in diagnosis of their prostate cancer and were twice as likely to have advanced disease upon diagnosis.

CNIO researchers confirm links between aggressive prostate cancer and hereditary breast cancer
The study has potential implications for families with members suffering from these types of tumours who are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

Distinguishing fatal prostate cancer from 'manageable' cancer now possible
Scientists at the University of York have found a way of distinguishing between fatal prostate cancer and manageable cancer, which could reduce unnecessary surgeries and radiotherapy.

Researchers find prostate cancer drug byproduct can fuel cancer cells
A genetic anomaly in certain men with prostate cancer may impact their response to common drugs used to treat the disease, according to new research at Cleveland Clinic.

Read More: Prostate Cancer News and Prostate Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.