Projecting urinary and sexual function after first-line treatment for prostate cancer


Data from a study conducted by a research team at Fox Chase Cancer Center here in Philadelphia may be able, in time, to help to identify when and how much various prostate cancer treatments will impact urinary and sexual functioning.

The new study data were presented by Johnson and colleagues at the ongoing annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Francisco, and discussed in a media release issued by the Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Here are some of the core data presented by Johnson et al.:

  • The total available database comprised >  17,000 surveys completed by prostate cancer patients and included such factors as patients’ urinary and sexual symptoms, when they changed following each type of treatment, and by how much.
  • Overall, men’s functioning at the time of treatment – their “baseline” level – had a strong influence on how their symptoms changed during treatment.
  • 3,515 men completed 14,523 surveys about their problems with urination, e.g., the sense that they have to use the bathroom frequently, but can never fully empty their bladders.
  • After half of the men had been followed for at least 28 months,
    • Low-dose rate brachytherapy was associated with a temporary increase in urinary problems, particularly within the first 3 months, but
    • Men given low-dose rate brachytherapy were no more likely to report more problems than those who received intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
  • 857 men completed 2,624 surveys about erectile and sexual function.
  • Radiation was associated with a slow worsening of erectile function over time.
  • No one form of radiation appeared to cause any more problems than another.
  • Men noted the largest increase in early sexual problems following surgery to remove their prostate and other tissue, peaking 3-7 months following surgery.
  • At 22 months post-surgery, men treated surgically were no more likely to be experiencing additional issues than men who had undergone IMRT.
  • Men treated with first-line surgery who emerged from such surgery with good sexual function but required post-operative radiation therapy tended to maintain good sexual function even after radiation.

Quoted in the Fox Chase media release, Dr. Johnson states that

The ultimate goal is to develop a predictive tool that lets patients decide which treatment is right for them based on the symptoms they have beforehand, and their tolerance for any change – even temporary – in those symptoms.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: