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Qual Life Res. 2011 Jun;20(5):713-21. doi: 10.1007/s11136-010-9805-3. Epub 2010 Dec 4.

Self-rated health as a tool for estimating health-adjusted life expectancy among patients newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer: a preliminary study.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA.



Localized prostate cancer (LPC) patients are faced with numerous treatment options, including observation or watchful waiting. The choice of treatment largely depends on their baseline health-adjusted life expectancy (HALE). By consensus, physicians recommend treatment if the patient's HALE is ten or more years. However, the estimation of HALE is difficult. Although subjective by nature, self-rated health (SRH) is a robust predictor of mortality. We studied the usefulness of SRH in estimating HALE in patients who are considering treatment for LPC.


A total of 144 LPC patients from a large urology private practice in Norfolk, Virginia, were surveyed before they had chosen a treatment option.


HALE determined by SRH correlated well with objective health measures and was higher than age-based life expectancy by an average of 2 years. The observed difference in life expectancy due to SRH adjustment was higher among patients with a better socioeconomic and health profile.


SRH is an easy-to-use indicator of HALE in LPC patients. A table for HALE estimation by age and SRH is provided for men aged 70-80 years. Additional research with larger samples and prospective study designs are needed before the SRH method can be used in primary care and urology settings.

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