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Increased radiation dose does not increase long-term side effects for prostate cancer patients
Date:3/16/2010

rates of treatment-related toxicity in both groups, but the patients themselves had not been asked about their post-treatment experiences.

The current investigation was designed to study participants' reports of their experiences, considered to be the most accurate measure of side effects. The researchers sent all surviving participants a questionnaire that included standardized assessments of the urinary, bowel and sexual symptoms usually affected by prostate cancer treatment. Separate from the specific symptom assessment, participants were asked to rank their function in those areas as normal, intermediate or poor. They also were surveyed about their attitudes regarding their current health, their cancer and the treatment decisions they had made.

Survey questionnaires were returned by 280 of the original 398 study participants, evenly divided between the standard- and high-dose groups. Both groups reported similarly low levels of treatment side effects and quality of life problems. Patients in the standard-dose group who had greater incidence of tumor recurrence, often requiring additional therapies expressed less confidence that their tumors were under control and more regret about their treatment choice, which in this case was to enroll in the randomized trial. Participants' overall ranking of the urinary, bowel and sexual functions was often better that would be expected based on the symptoms they reported.

"The assessment we used includes scales that ask patients how bothered or distressed they are by each symptom," Talcott explains. "In earlier work, Wwe matched reported the symptom levels they reported to how much those symptoms had bothered other patients we surveyed before or soon after treatment in previous studies. If no symptoms were at a level that caused distress, that function would be considered normal. If a patient reported one symptom that usually caused high levels of distress, that function would be r
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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