Differing Perceptions of Quality of Life in Patients with Prostate Cancer and Their Doctors

Published In: The Journal of Urology, v. 182, no. 5, Nov. 2009, p. 2296-2302

by Geoffrey A. Sonn, Natalia Sadetsky, Joseph C. Presti, Mark Litwin

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PURPOSE: As the number of prostate cancer survivors increases, urologists must recognize their quality of life impairment. In the past physician ratings of patient symptoms did not correlate with patient self-assessments. The authors determined if urologists have improved their reporting of patient health related quality of life. They also investigated if urologists assessed health related quality of life more accurately in the short or long term. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The authors identified 1,366 men from CaPSURE, a national, prospective cohort, who had undergone prostatectomy, brachytherapy or external beam radiation therapy. At each visit urologists assessed fatigue, pain, and sexual, urinary and bowel dysfunction. Participants independently completed the SF-36 and the UCLA-PCI. We contrasted the frequency of impairment reported by physicians and participants in select health related quality of life domains in the short (less than 1 year) and long (greater than 2 years) term. The authors also compared physician-patient concordance between the periods 1995 to 2000 and 2001 to 2007. RESULTS: In short-term and long-term followup, and for the 1995 to 2000 and 2001 to 2007 cohorts, physician and participant assessments differed in all analyzed domains. Urologists noted impairment in urinary and sexual function more often than fatigue or pain. Disagreement between physician and participant ratings did not vary dramatically from short-term to long-term followup, or from the earlier to the later cohort. CONCLUSIONS. In men treated for localized prostate cancer physician ratings of symptoms do not correlate well with patient self-assessments of health related quality of life. Physician reporting did not improve over time. It is increasingly important to recognize and address impairments in quality of life from prostate cancer and its treatment.

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