Health Related Quality of Life in Older Men Without Prostate Cancer

Published in: The Journal of Urology, v. 161, no. 4, Apr. 1999, p. 1180-1184

by Mark Litwin

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PURPOSE: The authors measured health related quality of life in a population of normal older men for use as controls in studies of older men treated for prostate cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A statistically valid, population based sample of older men without prostate cancer completed a validated quality of life questionnaire that addressed impairment in the physical, mental, urinary, bowel and sexual domains. General and disease targeted health related quality of life was measured by the RAND 36-Item Health Survey and University of California, Los Angeles Prostate Cancer Index, respectively. RESULTS: Overall approximately a third of normal older men reported some degree of urinary leakage, while a third claimed some degree of rectal dysfunction and almost two-thirds acknowledged significant difficulty with erection. CONCLUSIONS: Older men in a randomly selected, population based sample do not have perfectly normal urinary continence, bowel function or sexual potency. By collecting data before treatment and following subjects longitudinally investigators may ensure that health related quality of life changes are analyzed in the context of any impairment that may have been present at baseline. If a longitudinal study is not feasible, a control group of men who are similar in age and other demographic variables must be used.

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