Localised prostate cancer affects patient's quality of life in many ways. The aim of this study was to explore factors related to self-rated health and life satisfaction for patients treated for prostate cancer, and to compare the results of these generic quality-of-life measures to the prostate cancer-specific quality-of-life measure (UCLA Prostate Cancer Index), which focuses on physical functioning.
This cross-sectional survey was carried out among 183 men who underwent radical prostatectomy in 2012-2015 at a university hospital in Finland and were seen 1 year postsurgery. Approval from an ethics committee and written consents from participants were received. A questionnaire was used to evaluate patients' perceived quality of life. Logistic regression model, Spearman's correlation, Kruskal-Wallis test and Mann-Whitney U-test were used to analyse factors related to quality of life.
Of the 183 men in the study, 63% rated their health status as good, and 70% were satisfied with their lives after prostatectomy. Older age and better urinary function were the only factors that explained both better self-rated health and better satisfaction with life. The patients seemed not to interpret problems with sexual function as health-related problems. In our sample, sexual dysfunction was relatively severe, but patients considered them to be less harmful than urinary or bowel symptoms. Interestingly, 24% of the men with low sexual function did not find that dysfunction bothersome.
Objectively measured physical functioning is not necessarily in line with patients' experienced satisfaction with life and their self-ratings of health. More longitudinal and qualitative research is needed about the meanings that patients attach to physical treatment side effects and the extent to which they can adapt to them over time. With a bigger sample and longer follow-up time, it would be possible to identify men who particularly benefited from pretreatment counselling.