BERKELEY, CA (UroToday.com) - Prospective studies following patients with prostate cancer over time enables researchers to explore their experiences and consider how to enhance future care for men who are dealing with this disease.
In this investigation, we were able explore, with men, their experiences before they received treatment and then during the following month after their radiation treatment was completed.
Many individuals who experience prostate cancer do not have symptoms prior to their diagnosis and the disease is often identified after routine screening. Consequently, men may have little idea how to interpret symptoms they may experience following their treatment. In this investigation, men received either brachytherapy, high-dose radiation and external beam radiation, or external beam radiation alone. Any or all of these treatments can result in symptoms relating to bladder, bowel, and sexual function in the time period following their treatment. Without information about what to anticipate, patients may become anxious that their condition is worsening.
The tool used was the European Prostate Cancer Composite Survey (EPIC) that looks at problems with urinary, bowel and sexual function and bother that may be experienced before and/or after treatment. Apart from sexual bother, all participants experienced increased problems with all other measures indicating worsening of urinary/bowel/and sexual functioning. In addition, all men experienced more difficulties with their usual activities in the first four weeks of treatment.
Strategies to support men and their families include providing men with information about issues that may affect them in the first weeks following their treatment so they can fully understand their progress, including limitations that may occur. Providing information in the presence of family members can enable them to help clarify issues that have been discussed - or to remind their partner, or friend that some of the issues they face are “normal” at that particular time.
Further analysis is being conducted on issues experienced in the year following treatment to determine how their issues progressed or resolved.
Sheila Cameron, Colvin Springer, Susan Fox-Wasylyshyn, and Maher M. El-Masrias as part of Beyond the Abstract on UroToday.com. This initiative offers a method of publishing for the professional urology community. Authors are given an opportunity to expand on the circumstances, limitations etc... of their research by referencing the published abstract.