Baseline Function Can Affect Change After Prostate Therapy

Researchers grouped men by urinary, bowel, and sexual function before cancer treatments

TUESDAY, July 21 (HealthDay News) -- The long-term effect of prostate cancer treatments on men's sexual, bowel, and urinary function depends on patients' baseline levels of function, according to research published online July 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ronald C. Chen, M.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 409 men with localized prostate cancer who underwent radical prostatectomy, external-beam radiation therapy, or brachytherapy. The researchers stratified men by their baseline urinary, bowel, and sexual function and assessed their 36-month quality-of-life outcomes.

The researchers found that men with normal baseline function in general had the largest treatment-related increases in dysfunction scores during the 36-month period versus those with intermediate or poor baseline function. This finding may be due to the possibility that higher baseline function increases the chance for loss of function, the authors note.

"Our findings may help improve the counseling of patients about the quality-of-life impact of localized prostate cancer treatments. Using stratified results, physicians could provide a patient information more individualized to his circumstances on the basis of his baseline functional status, about the impact of radical prostatectomy, external-beam radiation therapy, and brachytherapy on sexual, bowel, and urinary function," the authors conclude.

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