New data suggest there is a need to standardise follow-up care for prostate cancer survivors in the UK.
A study, published in European Urology, has found that the quality of survival among prostate cancer survivors varies significantly according to area of residence, despite adjustment for treatment, and clinical and sociodemographic factors.
The research is based on a cross-sectional postal survey of prostate cancer survivors diagnosed 18-42 months previously. Urinary, bowel, sexual problems, and vitality were reported by patients using the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC-26) questionnaire. General health was self-assessed. Regional variations were identified using multivariable log-linear regression.
A total of 35,823 men responded (60.8% response rate) to the invitation to take part in the survey.
Responses revealed that self-assessed health was significantly lower than the UK average in Wales and Scotland. Respondents reported more urinary incontinence in Scotland, more urinary irritation/obstruction in Scotland and Northern Ireland (NI), poorer bowel function in Scotland and NI, worse sexual function in Scotland, and reduced vitality/hormonal function in Scotland, Wales, and NI.
Self-assessed health was poorer than the English average in South Yorkshire and the North-East and Cumbria, with more urinary incontinence in the North-East and Cumbria and Peninsula, greater sexual problems in West Midlands, and poorer vitality in the North-East and Cumbria and West Midlands.
The authors say: “Adoption of best practice from areas performing well could support enhanced survival quality in poorer performing areas, particularly with regard to bowel problems and vitality, where clinically relevant differences were reported.”