Diabetes and quality of life among men with prostate cancer


It has long been recognized that the combination of prostate cancer and diabetes tends to have a notable impact on the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of male patients.

Thong et al. have reported data on the HRQoL of men with localized or locally advanced disease at 6, 12, 24, and 60 months after an initial diagnosis of non-metastatic prostate cancer. They studied changes in general and cancer-specific HRQoL with a specific focus on the impact of concomitant diabetes mellitus.

The key results of their study are as follows:

  • 1,811 men were evaluated in total.
    • 236/1,811 (13 percent) already had diabetes at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis (prevalent diabetes).
    • 217/1,811 (12 percent) developed diabetes after their diagnosis with prostate cancer (incident diabetes).
    • 1,358/1,811 never reported being diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Men with prevalent diabetes had the poorest scores on general HRQoL regardless of treatment type.
  • Non-diabetic men the best scores on general HRQoL regardless of treatment type.
  • Men with prevalent diabetes had the lowest urinary control and sexual function scores over time.
  • Men without diabetes had the highest urinary control and sexual function scores over time.
  • Men with incident diabetes reported intermediate scores.

The authors conclude that, “Prostate cancer survivors with comorbid diabetes have poorer general and cancer-specific [HRQoL] than those without diabetes.”

The take-home message for The “New” Prostate Cancer InfoLink is the importance of coordinating the care of men with both prostate cancer and diabetes between the primary care provider, the endocrinologist (assuming an endocrinologist is actually involved), and the urologist or other provider who is managing the cancer. Optimizing the quality of life of patients with two or more comorbid conditions can be particularly challenging. It is important for the patient and his caregivers to ensure that they have the full cooperation of all parties and an appropriate understanding of who is responsible for what.

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