|Arnold L. Potosky, Julie Legler, Peter C. Albertsen, et al.|
|Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania|
| Last Modified: November 1, 2001
Reviewers: Li Liu, MD
Précis: Tradeoffs in prostate cancer treatment
IntroductionTreatment options for localized prostate cancer include radical prostatectomy, radiotherapy, observation, and a variety of new approaches. Each of these approaches is associated with a distinct set of potential risks and benefits. Each therapy can significantly impact both quantity and quality of life. In this study, the researchers compared the side effects of radical prostatectomy with those of external beam radiotherapy in a diverse group of patients from all types of health care delivery settings.
MethodA total of 1156 men underwent radical prostatectomy and 435 men received external beam radiotherapy. The patients were followed at 6, 12, and 24 months following treatment to assess their urinary, bowel, and sexual function.
DiscussionIn this study, patients with early prostate cancer who underwent surgery tended to have more urinary and sexual function problems, whereas those treated with radiation had more problems with bowel function. The vast majority of men with early stage prostate cancer do not die from prostate cancer and may therefore live with treatment side effects for a long time. Men need to be informed of the potential risks of treatment of their prostate cancer.