Patient satisfaction after first-line treatment for localized prostate cancer (in Germany)


A new article in the journal Anticancer Research suggests that patients had greater satisfaction after modern forms of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) than after some other standard forms of first-line treatment. Of course the absolute truth of this conclusion may be affected by the details of the study.

In October 2006, Wagner et al. published a questionnaire for prostate cancer patients in a German magazine (Krebsmagazin) that is primarily directed to cancer patients. The questionnaire was designed to elicit patients’ opinions and their levels of satisfaction with their treatments for prostate cancer. Responses to the questionnaire were collected over the next 12 months (until March 2007).

Here are the core data reported by the authors, based on this questionnaire:

  • Responses were received from 634 patents.
    • 61 percent of the patients had receive a radical prostatectomy.
    • 17 percent of the patients had been treated with EBRT.
    • 2 percent of the patients had been treated with brachytherapy.
    • 15 percent of the patients had been treated with hormonal therapy alone.
    • 5 percent of the patients had received some other form of therapy (including combinations of the therapies listed above).
  • Most patients were “very satisfied” with their treatment and “would choose the same therapy again”:
    • 79 percent of men who had radical prostatectomy
    • 96 percent of men who had EBRT
    • 93 percent of men who had brachytherapy
    • 84 percent of men who had hormonal therapy
  • Erectile dysfunction “with inability to perform sexual intercourse” was reported by
    • 52 percent of patients who had radical prostatectomy
    • 32 percent of men who had EBRT
    • 21 percent of men who had brachytherapy
    • 63 percent of men who had hormonal therapy
  • Some patients reported no post-treatment sexual problems at all.
    • 4 percent of patients who had radical prostatectomy
    • 22 percent of men who had EBRT
    • 21 percent of men who had brachytherapy
    • 13 percent of men who had hormonal therapy
  • Physiological and psychological side effects (fear; depression; urinary, bowel, erectile dysfunction; hormonal disorders) occurred in
    • 85 percent of patients who had radical prostatectomy
    • 51 percent of men who had EBRT
    • 64 percent of men who had brachytherapy
    • 83 percent of men who had hormonal therapy

The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink suggests that we interpret these data with caution, although it should be said that they do demonstrate a clear trend toward greater satisfaction with EBRT and brachytherapy than with surgery or hormone therapy.

We have not seen the full text of this paper, and factors like patient age, time since treatment, attitudes to risk, baseline sexual function, and a whole range of other issues need to be accounted for in conducting studies of this type. It also needs to be recognized that the proportion of patients reporting surgical treatment in this study is high (at 61 percent) and the proportion of patients reporting brachytherapy is low (at just 2 percent or about 13/634 men).

One Response

  1. 110% satisified with the CyberKnife 3.5 years after therapy.

    FredK

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