Investigators report the latest results from the expansive Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study (PCOS), a National Cancer Institute-supported study encompassing nearly 3,500 prostate cancer patients, in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study is one of the nation's largest and most representative on quality of life after prostate cancer.
The six-center research team followed up on men from six cancer registries across the country who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1994 and 1995. Researchers interviewed the men about their lives at regular intervals after diagnosis.
In this section of the study, researchers studied 1,475 non-Latino white, 321 African-American and 279 Latino prostate cancer patients who were treated through prostate surgery (prostatectomy) or radiation therapy. They asked the men about changes in their urinary, bowel and sexual function in the years after diagnosis; they also asked how much of a problem such changes in function posed in the men's lives.
"We found that African-American men had significantly higher sexual and urinary function five years after prostatectomy than non-Latino white men," says Ann S. Hamilton, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School and the study's senior author. However, when researchers asked how much patients' change in sexual function bothered them, Hamilton says, "The African-American men indicated slightly more bother. We couldn't really explain why that might be."