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Med J Aust. 1998 May 18;168(10):483-6.

Health-related quality of life in Australian men remaining disease-free after radical prostatectomy.

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Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.



To determine the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of Australian men after radical prostatectomy.


Cross-sectional study.


Private and public practices of three urologists in south-east Queensland, July 1989 to June 1995.


140 men with no evidence of disease recurrence 1 to 6 years after radical prostatectomy.


Voiding and erectile potency and HRQOL. Recall of preoperative status and status at survey were established by an independently administered multi-item questionnaire.


112 men (80%) completed the study questionnaire. Difficulty with bladder control before the operation was reported by 25 (22%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 15%-31.2%), and the incontinence rate after treatment was 22/112 (20%; 95% CI, 12.7%-28.2%). Men with incontinence after operation were more likely to recall preoperative urinary symptoms. Eighty-four (75%) men were happy or coping with their sexual function after radical prostatectomy despite an erectile potency rate of only 12% (95% CI, 7%-20%). Twenty-eight (25%) had tried penile injections and three have had penile prostheses since their operation. Impotence was reported more frequently (40%) as the treatment-related problem most affecting life, followed by "concern about cancer" (12%) and incontinence (8%). Impotence was also the most common cause given for diminished HRQOL.


Loss of sexual function after radical prostatectomy is more commonly perceived as a major problem and is more likely than urinary incontinence to adversely affect HRQOL. Loss of sexual function and its effect on HRQOL needs to be given greater emphasis in counselling before radical prostatectomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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