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Urology. 2006 Dec;68(6):1224-9. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

Measuring patients' expectations regarding health-related quality-of-life outcomes associated with prostate cancer surgery or radiotherapy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.



Establishing realistic health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) expectations before the choice of cancer treatment is made is an important goal of patient counseling. We prospectively studied the pretreatment expectations of prostate cancer-specific HRQOL with an adapted Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite instrument.


Baseline pretreatment Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite scores, pretreatment expectation scores, and 1-year posttreatment scores were prospectively collected for 50 patients undergoing radical prostatectomy or external beam radiotherapy. The pretreatment expectations and observed HRQOL scores at 1 year after treatment were compared for the urinary incontinence, urinary irritation, bowel, sexual, and hormonal domains.


The expectation scores did not differ from the HRQOL scores at 1 year for urinary irritation, bowel function, and the hormonal domain. However, the sexual domain expectations were 22.5% greater than observed sexual domain scores 1 year after treatment (P <0.0001, 99% confidence interval 11 to 34) for both surgery and radiotherapy subjects. Anxiety, depression, education level, and income did not correlate with the expectations for HRQOL outcomes. A modest correlation was found between optimism and greater expectations for the sexual domain (Pearson correlation coefficient 0.38, P <0.001).


Measuring HRQOL expectations before treatment may elucidate discrepancies between patient expectations and observed outcomes. This pilot study found that patients' expectations regarding urinary and bowel outcomes more closely reflected their eventual observed outcome than did their expectations regarding sexual outcome.

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