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Keywords:

  • prostate cancer;
  • health-related quality of life;
  • psychosocial factors;
  • radical prostatectomy;
  • external radiation therapy

OBJECTIVE

To assess whether baseline health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and psychosocial profiles differ in patients with prostate cancer scheduled for radical prostatectomy (RP) or external radiation therapy (ERT), as there is evidence that HRQOL is influenced by psychosocial factors (PFs), so that any variation at baseline should be considered when comparing the effect of therapy on HRQOL.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

Before receiving therapy, HRQOL and PFs were assessed in 65 patients scheduled for RP and in 73 scheduled for ERT. To measure HRQOL (generic and disease-specific) and PFs, an extended questionnaire was constructed, using validated and standardized instruments. Clinical data were collected from patients’ medical records. Comparisons adjusted for age and socio-economic status (SES) were analysed using Student's t-test and univariate analyses of variance and covariance.

RESULTS

Patients scheduled for ERT were 7.9 years older and had a lower SES (both P < 0.001), more often had stage T3 and T4 disease, had poorer histopathological differentiation and higher levels of prostate-specific antigen (all P < 0.01). They also reported a worse physical, role, cognitive and social function, more fatigue, more pain, a lower overall HRQOL and worse sexual function than patients scheduled for RP. There were no differences in urinary and bowel function, nor in the PFs assessed.

CONCLUSION

The baseline HRQOL profile of patients scheduled for RP is better than in those scheduled for ERT. These results are in line with those from the few other studies on this subject. Knowing the impact of RP and ERT on HRQOL should therefore be based mainly on longitudinal studies including baseline measures, the analyses of which should be adjusted for age and SES. In the present small study, baseline PFs did not differ between the treatments.