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Men have overly optimistic expectations about recovery from prostate cancer surgery, U-M study finds
Date:8/8/2011

Nearly half of men undergoing surgery for prostate cancer expect better recovery from the side effects of the surgery than they actually attain one year after the operation, a University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center study finds.

In addition, prior to surgery, a small proportion of men had expected to have better urinary continence and sexual functions a year after the surgery than they had before it the exact opposite of what typically happens.

"This is a belief that does not reflect preoperative counseling which, on the contrary, alerts men to urinary and sexual problems after surgery," says study author Daniela Wittmann, M.S.W, sexual health coordinator at the U-M prostate cancer survivorship program.

The study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Urology, surveyed 152 men undergoing radical prostatectomy, an operation to remove the prostate. All of the men filled out questionnaires before surgery, after receiving preoperative counseling. The questions asked the men about their expectations of urinary, bowel, hormonal and sexual function a year after the surgery.

The study showed that for the most part, men's expectations of hormonal and bowel function matched what happened one year after surgery. But, when it came to urinary incontinence only 36 percent of the men's expectations corresponded to what happened one year post-surgery.

In addition, only 40 percent of men found what they expected for sexual function to be true one year post-surgery.

Also, 46 percent of the men found worse than expected outcomes in urinary incontinence and 44 percent of men found worse than expected outcomes in sexual function one year after surgery.

"When we provide preoperative education, we can only inform men in terms of overall statistics. We can't predict for the individual," explains Wittmann. "This may mean that, if in doubt, people tend toward being hopeful and optimistic, perh
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Contact: Imran Hyder
imranh@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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