Definitive treatment for prostate cancer includes radical prostatectomy (RP), external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), and brachytherapy (BT). The different side effect profiles of these options are crucial factors for patients and clinicians when deciding between treatments. This study reports long-term health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients in their second decade after treatment for prostate cancer. We used a validated survey to assess urinary, bowel, and sexual function and HRQOL in a prospective cohort of patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer 14–18 years previously. We report and compare the outcomes of patients who were initially treated with RP, EBRT, or BT. Of 230 eligible patients, the response rate was 92% (n = 211) and median follow-up was 14.6 years. Compared to baseline, RP patients had significantly worse urinary incontinence and sexual function, EBRT patients had worse scores in all domains, and BT patients had worse urinary incontinence, urinary irritation/obstruction, and sexual function. When comparing treatment groups, RP patients underwent larger declines in urinary continence than did BT patients, and EBRT and BT patients experienced larger changes in urinary irritation/obstruction. Baseline functional status was significantly associated with long-term function for urinary obstruction and bowel function domains. This is one of the few prospective reports on quality of life for prostate cancer patients beyond 10 years, and adds information about the late consequences of treatment choices. These data may help patients make informed decisions regarding treatment choice based on symptoms they may experience in the decades ahead.
We report long-term quality of life metrics in the urinary, bowel, and sexual function domains for patients following treatment for prostate cancer. These data may help patients make informed decisions regarding their treatment choice based on symptoms they may experience in the decades ahead.