Advanced prostate cancer and its treatments has significant impacts on a man’s quality of life (QOL) as well as their perception of their health. It is important to better understand these concerns, especially those currently not captured by the currently available health-related quality of life (HRQL) instruments.
In the quest to better understand these concerns researchers conducted interviews with prostate cancer survivors who had either a biochemical failure or metastatic cancer. Their goal was to understand the impacts of disease and treatments on these survivor’s perceptions of their lives. They conducted open-ended one-on-one interviews with 25 survivors (7 biochemical failure and 18 metastatic).
Survivor responses were analyzed to assess whether currently available QOL instruments adequately measured the survivor’s concerns. The data informed the development of a comprehensive conceptual model illustrating the impacts of advanced disease and treatments.
The interviewed survivors reported many of the key symptoms already captured by current measures such as bone pain, urinary functioning, bowel functioning, and fatigue. However, a number of impacts reported as bothersome by the survivors were identified that are not fully captured by existing measures. Specific examples include genital atrophy, muscle atrophy, stamina, body image, and emotional well-being.
Increasing clinicians are becoming aware of the importance of survivorship care for cancer survivors. This is one step n many needed steps in helping our treating physicians understand our concerns so they might be able to better help us get the treatments and therapies we need to improve our time as survivors.
Oliver Sartor, Emuella Flood, Kathleen Beusterien, Josephine Park, Iain Webb, David MacLean, Bruce J.O. Wong, H. Mark Lin
Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S,W.