Context: Advances in screening and treatment of prostate cancer have dramatically increased the number of survivors in the U.S. population. Previous studies have typically only reported outcomes of treatment and symptoms within a short time following treatment, leaving a need for a study of long-term, post-treatment symptoms experienced by survivors because the persistence of such symptoms over time necessitates an improvement of survivor care.

Objective: To perform a population based survey of prostate cancer survivors in the Michigan Cancer Registry to identify treatment side effect rates and assess areas of need in survivors' care.

Design, Setting, and Patients: Linking case files of the Michigan Cancer Registry with records from the National Death Index, we identified prostate cancer patients diagnosed between 1985 and 2004 and alive on December 31, 2005. Participants were selected using a stratified cross-sectional sampling strategy to ensure adequate inclusion of survivors based upon race and ethnicity, urban versus rural location, and number of years since diagnosis of prostate cancer. A total of 2,499 surveys were completed and returned.

Main Outcome Measures: Rates of bowel, sexual, urinary, and vitality symptoms by treatment (prostatectomy monotherapy, external beam radiation monotherapy); level of problem posed by symptom as rated by patient.

Results: Median duration between prostate cancer diagnosis and survey response was 9 years. 80% of study population was diagnosed at early stage. Patient-reported outcomes of “moderate” to “big” problems in the four weeks prior to survey completion: sexual symptoms, 51.6%; vitality, 24.1%; urinary, 19.7%; bowel, 14%.

Conclusion: Persistent symptoms subsequent to prostate cancer treatment suggest a gap in symptom management. Future research should support long-term studies of active surveillance vs. active treatment outcomes to understand the feasibility of minimizing the burden of long-term physical symptoms arising from prostate cancer treatment.

Citation Information: Cancer Prev Res 2011;4(10 Suppl):B24.