Sadly, one in seven Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 75.
The good news is survival rates are improving thanks to early detection and treatment, meaning long-term satisfaction is becoming increasingly important when making decisions about treatment.
A recent study sought to explore this issue further, enabled by the support of Australian Prostate Cancer’s (APC) generous donors to inform future care.
The project, supervised by Associate Professor Kim Moretti, head of Urology at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, surveyed more than 430 prostate cancer patients from the period of their diagnosis to two years post-therapy.
The survey looked at the satisfaction levels of patients who were treated with external beam radiation therapy compared to radical prostatectomy.
“Quality of life beyond treatment is becoming an increasingly important factor for patients and clinicians when making decisions about therapies, due to the high long-term survival rates of the disease,” A/Prof Moretti said.
“Interestingly this study found that satisfaction among prostate cancer patients is high, and that satisfaction levels do not depend on mode of treatment or demographic variables.”
He said patients were more likely to be satisfied if their longer-term health was maintained, particularly in the prostate-specific areas of urinary, bowel and sexual function.
“Other studies have found radiotherapy patients had higher levels of long-term dissatisfaction due to the chronic nature of the side-effects of radiotherapy, and conversely surgery carries more acute side effects. However our analysis revealed no significant difference between treatment modalities.
“Unique to our study were findings that men were more dissatisfied if they were experiencing hormonal changes, particularly hot flushes, breast tenderness and enlargement, feeling depressed, lack of energy and changes in body weight.
“This is useful for clinicians to be aware of before and after treatment.”
The research was enabled by the South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative (SA-PCCOC) database, which is co-funded by APC.