Prostate Treatment Hinders Urinary Function

Published Online: Monday, November 1, 2004

Urinary problems are an issue men face as a result of surgery or external radiation treatment for localized prostate cancer. A study, reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (September 15, 2004), found that the problem can continue for at least 5 years. Bowel and sexual problems also were seen in the analysis.

The current study examined pelvic problems in 901 men who underwent surgical removal of the prostate and 286 men who had external beam radiation for prostate cancer. Originally, the researchers reported outcomes 2 years after treatment, and in the newest study they looked at the 5-year data. The research showed that urinary incontinence after 5 years affected 15% of the surgery patients, compared with 4% of those who had radiation treatment. Lead researcher Arnold Potosky, PhD, noted that the change was minimal from 2 to 5 years in either group.

"Given uncertainty about the survival benefits of any single treatment strategy, this information may be useful for helping men make more informed treatment decisions to suit their preferences," Dr. Potosky said. He recommended further research into these issues, as well as survival, following all prostate cancer therapies now being used.

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