Author(s): Vasarainen H, Malmi H, Mttnen L, Ruutu M, Tammela T,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: As prostate cancer (PC) mortality reduction results are not unequivocal, a special emphasis has to be put on other aspects of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, including effects on quality of life. In the present study we describe the short-term effects of various phases of PC screening on health-related quality of life (HRQL). MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study participants were randomized into the screening arm within the Finnish component of the European Randomized Study on Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC). The RAND 36-Item Health Survey on HRQL and questionnaires on sociodemographic and behavioral factors were delivered to participants at various phases of the first screening round: 1) 500 participants at invitation; 2) 500 after screening; 3) 500 after obtaining the PSA result; 4) to 300 participants after undergoing digital rectal examination (DRE) (but prior to being informed of its result); and 5) approximately 300 after prostate biopsy. At each stage, a new sample of participants was recruited. RESULTS: Response rates were 59\% at invitation, 77\% after PSA blood test, 54\% after PSA result and 69\% after DRE. The men recruited at each stage were comparable in respect to socioeconomic variables. The HRQL scores in RAND-36 subscales showed little variation in the different phases of the screening process. Compared with the previous phase, the social function score was slightly lower after obtaining the PSA result than after blood test, the emotional role score lower after DRE than after PSA result and the pain-related score lower after DRE than after TRUS and biopsy. The screening participants were comparable to the general population as their HRQL scores were similar to an age-stratified general Finnish male population. CONCLUSION: Short-term HRQL effects of prostate cancer screening appear minor and transient.
This article was published in Acta Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics