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Quality of life continues to change long-term after treatment for prostate cancer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Four to eight years after men undergo treatment for prostate cancer, they continue to see changes both positive and negative in their quality of life because of that treatment, researchers at the University of Michigan Health System and Harvard Medical School report.

While previous research has documented the effects of prostate cancer treatment on quality of life two years after treatment occurs, this is the first study to look at these issues beyond five years after treatment.

Researchers compared outcomes for men who had undergone surgery, external radiation and brachytherapy, a type of radiation in which seeds are implanted inside the prostate. Results of the study will be presented May 10 at the American Urological Association annual meeting in San Francisco.

Researchers surveyed 1,008 men with and without a history of prostate cancer about quality of life issues, including urinary problems, sexual dysfunction, bowel problems and hormonal concerns. The study participants with prostate cancer had previously been surveyed an average of 2.5 years after their treatment. At this second contact, the men were on average more than six years post-treatment. Current responses were compared against the men without prostate cancer and to the previous survey responses.

"Over the long term, some men who are treated for prostate cancer may continue to have varying degrees of urinary, sexual or bowel dysfunction when compared to men without prostate cancer. When we looked beyond two years of follow-up, we saw quality of life outcomes continue to change for men treated with either type of radiation some for the better and some for the worse," says lead author David Miller, M.D., a fellow in Urology at the U-M Medical School.

Aging may have contributed to some of these changes, as the external radiation patients were older than those who had undergone surgery, he notes. For men who had surgery, quality of life ten
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