Long-term psychological and quality-of-life effects of active surveillance and watchful waiting after diagnosis of low-risk localised prostate cancer
Exercise Medicine Research Institute
Long-term psychological well-being and quality-of-life are important considerations when deciding whether to undergo active treatment for low-risk localised prostate cancer.
To assess the long-term effects of active surveillance (AS) and/or watchful waiting (WW) on psychological and quality-of-life outcomes for low-risk localised prostate cancer patients.
Design, setting, and participants
The Prostate Cancer Care and Outcome Study is a population-based prospective cohort study in New South Wales, Australia. Participants for these analyses were low-risk localised prostate cancer patients aged <70 yr at diagnosis and participated in the 10-yr follow-up.
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis
Validated instruments assessed outcomes relating to six health-related quality-of-life and nine psychological domains relevant to prostate cancer patients. Adjusted mean differences (AMDs) in outcome scores between prostate cancer treatment groups were estimated using linear regression.
Results and limitations
At 9–11 yr after diagnosis, patients who started AS/WW initially had (1) higher levels of distress and hyperarousal than initial radiation/high-dose-rate brachytherapy patients (AMD = 5.9; 95% confidence interval or CI [0.5, 11.3] and AMD = 5.4; 95% CI [0.2, 10.5], respectively), (2) higher levels of distress and avoidance than initial low-dose-rate brachytherapy patients (AMD = 5.3; 95% CI [0.2, 10.3] and AMD = 7.0; 95% CI [0.5, 13.5], respectively), (3) better urinary incontinence scores than initial radical prostatectomy patients (AMD = –9.1; 95% CI [–16.3, –2.0]), and (4) less bowel bother than initial radiation/high-dose-rate brachytherapy patients (AMD = –16.8; 95% CI [–27.6, –6.0]). No other significant differences were found. Limitations include participant attrition, inability to assess urinary voiding and storage symptoms, and nonrandom treatment allocation.
Notwithstanding some long-term differences between AS/WW and various active treatment groups in terms of distress, hyperarousal, avoidance, urinary incontinence, and bowel bother, most long-term outcomes were similar between these groups.
This study assessed the long-term psychological and quality-of-life impacts of initially monitoring rather than actively treating low-risk prostate cancer. The results suggest that initial monitoring rather than active treatment has only a minor impact on subsequent long-term psychological and quality-of-life outcomes.