Objectives. To assess patient-reported prostate cancer-specific quality of life 2 and 3 years after radiotherapy to the prostate in a randomized dose-escalation trial of 70 versus 78 Gy conducted from 1993 to 1998. Methods. Two years after completing radiotherapy, a questionnaire that assessed bladder, rectal, and sexual function was sent to 301 patients in the study. Three years after treatment, a second questionnaire was sent to the 175 patients with adequate follow-up. Results. Three years after radiotherapy, urinary incontinence was reported by 35% of patients, but only 6% required the use of a pad or other protective device. Patients reported increased leakage with a full bladder (urge incontinence) between the 2 and 3-year questionnaires (42% versus 50%; P = 0.03). At 3 years, 33% of patients reported rectal bleeding compared with 47% at 2 years (P = 0.006). Patients in the 78-Gy arm reported more frequent bowel movements at 3 years and less change in bowel function at 2 years than patients in the 70-Gy arm. Before radiotherapy, 84% of patients reported erections adequate for intercourse at least a few times during the previous year. After 2 and 3 years, this had decreased to 49% and 41%, respectively (P <0.02). Conclusions. By patient-reported questionnaire, 78 Gy produced an increase in bowel movement frequency and no increase in bladder or sexual side effects at 3 years compared with 70 Gy. Comparing the results 2 and 3 years after radiotherapy, the symptoms of rectal bleeding had improved, erectile function had decreased, and urinary urge incontinence had increased.
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