With the established effectiveness of diverse treatments for prostate cancer, identification of the physical and psychosocial consequences of the disease and various treatments becomes critical. We review the literature on the effects of prostate cancer and its treatment on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Studies show that prostate cancer and its treatment affect both disease-specific HRQoL (i.e. urinary, sexual, and bowel function) as well as general HRQoL (i.e. energy/vitality, performance in physical and social roles). Yet, these effects appear to differ across stage of disease and type of treatment. We outline evidence from three sources: (1) studies that compare men with the disease with an age-matched sample of men without the disease, (2) studies that assess men with the disease across time, and (3) cross-sectional studies that highlight predictors of HRQoL. Future research directions are discussed. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.