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Ann Oncol. 1998 Jul;9(7):751-7.

Health-related quality of life and sequelae in patients treated with brachytherapy and external beam irradiation for localized prostate cancer.

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Service de Recherche Clinique, Centre François Baclesse, Caen, France.



To evaluate late physical and psychosocial sequelae in patients treated with an association of external beam irradiation (EBI) and brachytherapy (BT) for localized prostate cancer.


Seventy-one patients free of disease, treated at the Centre François Baclesse from 1988 to 1992, were enrolled in a case-control study. Seventy-one healthy controls, matched on age and residence, were selected at random from electoral rolls. Two self-administered questionnaires were mailed in January 1996. The French translation of the Nottingham Health Profile questionnaire and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 core questionnaire were used to evaluate physical, role, emotional, cognitive and social functioning, global health status as well as energy and sleep disturbance. Specific problems related to prostate cancer were explored using the prostate specific module developed by the EORTC Genito-Urinary Tract Cancer Cooperative Group. Concordance between clinical complications reported by patients and those reported by physicians was also analyzed.


General health quality of life scale scores did not significantly differ between patients and controls, nor did general symptom scale scores. Furthermore, no more late psychosocial sequelae were reported by patients than by controls. No major digestive complications were observed among patients. However, statistical differences were observed concerning interest in sex (P = 0.016) and sexual activity (P < 0.001), urinary incontinence (P < 0.001) and cystitis (P = 0.01). Late subjective morbidity (dysuria, nocturia, urinary incontinence, pelvic pain) appraisal differed slightly between patients and physicians who generally underestimate its severity. While nocturia was reported more often by physicians than by patients (P = 0.0016), patients reported urinary incontinence and pelvic pain more often than physicians (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively).


The study demonstrates that survivors from localized prostate cancer treated with an association of BT and EBI have good global health status. Major problems that persist are sexual disorders, urinary incontinence and cystitis while digestive disorders were rare. This association could be an alternative to standard EBI in patients with localized prostate cancer. Whatever the treatment choice, patients should be involved in the therapeutic decision which should consider not only expected survival rate but also quality of life.

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