The objective of the present study is to compare the impact on the general and disease-specific health related quality of life (HRQOL) of external radiation therapy (ERT) with radical prostatectomy (RP) in patients with localized prostate cancer, and to explore which factors, and to what extent, contribute to the assessed changes in HRQOL.
One hundred and thirty eight patients participated in this prospective longitudinal study. They completed before treatment (T0) and after 12 months (T1) a questionnaire constructed of validated instruments, measuring HRQOL and several psychosocial factors (PF). Among other things, multiple regression analyses including all baseline characteristics, HRQOL and PF were executed in order to meet the objectives.
RP patients showed significantly more improvement in their emotional function, while they reported more incontinence and a worse sexual function. There was significantly more improvement in the overall HRQOL of ERT patients, while the changes in the gastrointestinal function of these patients were significantly worse. Only the differences with respect to incontinence can be attributed to the treatment itself. Almost all HRQOL change scores are primarily influenced by their own baseline score. The influence of other factors, like age, socioeconomic status, and several PF, is limited.
The impact on HRQOL of ERT is similar to that of RP, except for incontinence. RP patients suffer more from incontinence than ERT patients. Changes in the assessed HRQOL are mainly influenced by the pre-treatment HRQOL scores. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.