OBJECTIVE: To document prostate cancer patient reported 'ever experienced' and 'current' prevalence of disease specific physical symptoms stratified by primary treatment received.
PATIENTS: 3,348 prostate cancer survivors 2-15 years post diagnosis.
METHODS: Cross-sectional, postal survey of 6,559 survivors diagnosed 2-15 years ago with primary, invasive PCa (ICD10-C61) identified via national, population based cancer registries in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Questions included symptoms at diagnosis, primary treatments and physical symptoms (impotence/urinary incontinence/bowel problems/breast changes/loss of libido/hot flashes/fatigue) experienced 'ever' and at questionnaire completion ("current"). Symptom proportions were weighted by age, country and time since diagnosis. Bonferroni corrections were applied for multiple comparisons.
RESULTS: Adjusted response rate 54%; 75% reported at least one 'current' physical symptom ('ever':90%), with 29% reporting at least three. Prevalence varied by treatment; overall 57% reported current impotence; this was highest following radical prostatectomy (RP)76% followed by external beam radiotherapy with concurrent hormone therapy (HT); 64%. Urinary incontinence (overall 'current' 16%) was highest following RP ('current'28%, 'ever'70%). While 42% of brachytherapy patients reported no 'current' symptoms; 43% reported 'current' impotence and 8% 'current' incontinence. 'Current' hot flashes (41%), breast changes (18%) and fatigue (28%) were reported more often by patients on HT.
CONCLUSION: Symptoms following prostate cancer are common, often multiple, persist long-term and vary by treatment. They represent a significant health burden. An estimated 1.6% of men over 45 is a prostate cancer survivor currently experiencing an adverse physical symptom. Recognition and treatment of physical symptoms should be prioritised in patient follow-up. This information should facilitate men and clinicians when deciding about treatment as differences in survival between radical treatments is minimal.
Gavin AT, Drummond FJ, Donnelly C, O'Leary E, Sharp L, Kinnear HR. Are you the author?
Northern Ireland Cancer Registry, Queen's University Belfast, Centre for Public Health, Mulhouse Building, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 6DP.
Reference: BJU Int. 2015 Jan 18. Epub ahead of print.