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Keywords:

  • sexual function;
  • prostate cancer;
  • treatments;
  • decision making

OBJECTIVE

To identify the preferences for sexual information resources of patients before and after definitive treatment for early-stage prostate cancer with either radical prostatectomy (RP) or brachytherapy.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

Two hundred patients (mean age 64 years) treated with either RP or brachytherapy were recruited from radiation oncology (100) and urology (100) outpatient clinics. Patients completed a survey questionnaire to identify the types of information used, preferred sources of information, knowledge of treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED), effect of sexual function on the treatment decision, and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) to assess their current level of sexual function.

RESULTS

Urologists were identified as the main source of sexual information. Written information, Internet access and videos were identified as preferred sources of information before and after treatment. The effects of treatment on sexual function had no apparent significant influence on the men's definitive treatment choice. Compared with patients in the brachytherapy group, patients in the RP group reported having significantly higher levels of sexual desire (P < 0.001) after treatment, but otherwise the erectile domains of the groups were remarkably similar. Two-thirds of patients wanted more information on the effects of treatment on sexual function, and on available treatments for ED.

CONCLUSIONS

These results support the need for physicians to offer patients access to information on the effect of treatment for early-stage prostate cancer on erectile function before and after treatment.