Health Related Quality of Life in Men with Prostate Cancer

Published in: The Journal of Urology, v. 169, no. 5, May 2003, p. 1653-1661

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by David F. Penson, Mark Litwin, Neil K. Aaronson

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PURPOSE: Quality of life is of great concern to patients considering treatment options for prostate cancer. In the absence of clinical trial data clearly demonstrating that a particular treatment is superior to another for localized prostate cancer, in terms of cause specific survival, patients may value quality of life as much as quantity of life. The goal of this review is to familiarize the reader with the methodology of quality of life research and to review the recent literature on quality of life outcomes in prostate cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A structured MEDLINE review of literature on health related quality of life in prostate cancer for the years 1995 to 2001 was performed, and was augmented with highly relevant articles from additional selected journals. RESULTS: In the case of advanced or metastatic disease, where the goal of treatment is palliation and symptom-free survival, quality of life often becomes the primary desired outcome. In localized disease all treatments affect health related quality of life, although the impact of each therapy on sexual, urinary and bowel function is unique. CONCLUSIONS: Although a highly personal and subjective entity, health related quality of life can be assessed using rigorous and scientifically stringent methods from the field of psychometric test theory. A substantial amount of literature exists regarding the use of established and validated instruments for assessing the impact of prostate cancer and its treatment on health related quality of life. This information is of critical importance when counseling men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer regarding treatment choices and is also helpful in setting appropriate expectations for men with metastatic disease.

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