Regret in Men Treated for Localized Prostate Cancer
Published in: The Journal of Urology, v. 169, no. 6, June 2003, p. 2279-2283
Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003
PURPOSE: The authors identify the predictors of medical regret in men treated for localized prostate cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients previously treated for early stage prostate cancer were assessed for treatment regret using validated items. Univariate and multivariate analyses identified associations between regret and demographic characteristics, clinical outcomes, medical knowledge, and general and disease specific health related quality of life as measured by the general health perceptions domain of the RAND 36-Item Health Survey and a validated short form of the University of California, Los Angeles Prostate Cancer Index. RESULTS: Of 96 respondents (mean age 64 years, mean followup 2.8 years) 16% expressed regret with treatment decisions. Regretful men were almost twice as likely as nonregretful men to have less than a college education (60% versus 33%, p = 0.05) and worse current health related quality of life (p <0.05). In addition, regretful men tended to be unable to recall the most recent prostate specific antigen accurately (p = 0.06). Men with and without regret did not differ in other demographic characteristics, treatment choice or clinical outcomes. Regretful men were more likely to say they would choose a different treatment if they could. In multivariate analyses worse quality of life predicted regret but decline in quality of life with time was not associated with regret. CONCLUSIONS: Men expressing regret over treatment choice for localized prostate cancer have poorer health related quality of life. Further study is needed to identify factors that predict posttreatment regret. Such information will allow patients and physicians to individualize treatment decisions, optimize quality of life and avoid medical regret.