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Keywords:

  • follow-up;
  • hormone ablation;
  • nurses;
  • prostate cancer;
  • quality of life;
  • radiotherapy

Abstract

Aim.  To report a study measuring the quality of life and side effects in men receiving radiotherapy and hormone ablation for prostate cancer up to 1 year after treatment.

Background.  Prostate cancer incidence is increasing with the result that more men are living longer with the disease and the side effects of treatment. It is important to know the effects this has on their quality of life.

Design.  Survey.

Method.  Between September 2006–September 2007, all men who were about to undergo radical conformal radiotherapy ± neo-adjuvant androgen deprivation for localized prostate cancer were invited to participate in the study; 149 men were recruited. They completed the European Organization on Research and Treatment of Cancer quality of life questionnaire C-30 and Prostate Cancer module PR25 at four time-points.

Results.  At 4–6 weeks after radiotherapy, participants experienced the biggest relative decline in global quality of life, social, physical, and role functioning and an increase in treatment side effects. At 6 months postradiotherapy the majority of men experienced an improvement in their side effects. However, a minority of men were experiencing severe side effects of radiotherapy at 1 year post-treatment. Single men and men who had a low quality of life prior to radiotherapy, reported a lower quality of life at 1 year after treatment in comparison to married men.

Conclusion.  Men with prostate cancer suffer limitations due to the symptoms they experience and disruption to their quality of life. It is essential that nurses develop and deliver follow-up care which is flexible and appropriate to the individual needs of these men.