Are we underestimating the rates of incontinence after prostate cancer treatment? Results from NHANES

Local therapy for prostate cancer (PCa) includes radical prostatectomy (RP) and radiotherapy (XRT), both of which share a complication of urinary incontinence. Post-treatment incontinence has been reported to occur 6-69%, yet no truly patient-centered report has been compiled.

We evaluated patient-reported incontinence rates and bother scores after treatment for prostate cancer.

The NHANES database was queried for all men who reported a diagnosis and treatment of PCa from 2001 to 2010. A control arm of men without a diagnosis of PCa age 60-80 years was constructed for baseline incontinence rates. Incontinence was patient-reported and obtained through questionnaires. Three additional cohorts were created for patients treated with RP, XRT or combination RP and XRT.

We identified 316 men treated for prostate cancer, of which 136 reported RP and 125 reported XRT, who were compared to 3534 controls. Men that underwent RP experience significant incontinence rates of 23% compared to 12% of those patients treated with XRT, whereas those patients with combined therapy had incontinence rates of 52% (p < 0.0001). Bother scores did not significantly vary, but were increased compared to baseline. Urge incontinence did not differ between treatment groups, but stress incontinence was significantly higher in surgical patients.

These data from a nationwide sample of patient-reported urinary outcomes have limited interviewer bias and report significantly higher incontinence rates, which may impact prostate cancer discussions. This further underscores the importance of patient-reported outcomes in the evaluation of treatment success and counseling for patients with prostate cancer.

International urology and nephrology. 2017 Jul 14 [Epub ahead of print]

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Michael Daugherty, Raju Chelluri, Gennady Bratslavsky, Timothy Byler

Department of Urology, Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY, 13210, USA., Department of Urology, Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY, 13210, USA. .