04/14/2010 - News

Which Prostate Cancer Treatment is Best for Quality of Life?

By: June Chen, MD


Robot-assisted procedures for prostate cancer are increasingly popular among patients, in part due to marketing from surgery centers and the perception that these types of surgeries are better than open radical procedures for prostate cancer. According to a new study in the Journal of Urology, men with early stage prostate cancer are likely to experience better long-term quality of life with non-surgical treatments.

Men with earlier stage prostate cancer have a number of treatment options, which range from observation, or ‘watchful waiting’, to radiation therapy to surgical resection. Researchers from the Sentara Health System/Eastern Virginia Medical School followed 785 men with localized prostate cancer who received one of four types of treatment – traditional open surgery, robotic surgery, brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy), or cryotherapy (application of extreme cold to destroy the prostate cancer tissue). The researchers found that prostate cancer patients who received brachytherapy had the best outcomes in terms of quality of life, based on questionnaires completed before treatment and periodically for three years following treatment. These quality of life outcomes included urinary function and sexual function. Prostate cancer patients who were treated with cryotherapy had the poorest quality of life scores in the long term.

Of note, there were no significant differences in quality of life between men who had undergone open prostate cancer surgery compared to those who had undergone robot-assisted surgery. The study authors speculate that this might be because the advantages of robot-assisted surgery, including shorter hospital stays and less blood loss, do not necessarily translate into improved long-term quality of life. This study also did not examine the effectiveness of each type of treatment against prostate cancer. However, it does highlight the importance of offering prostate cancer patients more information to consider when they are deciding on treatment.



Journal of Urology 2010.


Created on: 04/14/2010
Reviewed on: 04/14/2010

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