CHICAGO - Men who undergo targeted radiation therapy for prostate cancer are not particularly prone to bladder and bowel problems, but may suffer from sleep disorders that hamper their quality of life, according to a study by Philadelphia researchers.
The Fox Chase Cancer Center surveyed 139 men, with an average age of 68, who were treated with three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3-D CRT), and compared their responses to 268 men from the general population (average age 73) surveyed in a study published in the April 1999 Journal of Urology.
Although radiation oncologists may hear complaints from patients about bowel and bladder dysfunction after therapy, the 3-D CRT patients in this survey didn't report any greater number of major problems than those older men in the general population.
However, they did complain more about nighttime trips to the bathroom, said Alexandra Hanlon, senior research biostatistician at Fox Chase.
"The problem may be nocturia and not urinary incontinence," Hanlon said Monday during a press conference at the RSNA meeting. "Maybe these men are more bothered by the fact they are getting up at night."
Only 15% of the 3-D CRT patients reported incontinence problems compared to 40% in the general population survey. Future quality-of-life studies should begin to look at sleep patterns, fatigue and satisfaction with sleep, Hanlon concluded.By AuntMinnie.com staff writers
November 30, 1999
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