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Who is the average patient presenting with prostate cancer?


Prostate cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Patients with newly diagnosed prostate cancer have many treatment options available. We attempted to determine how patient demographics and quality of life (QOL) have changed, and we describe the average patient with newly diagnosed prostate cancer in the early 21st century. From the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) we identified 3003 men with prostate cancer diagnosed between 1997 and 2003 for whom pretreatment demographic and QOL data were available. All patients completed both the University of California-Los Angeles Prostate Cancer Index (UCLA-PCI) and the Rand Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) as self-administered questionnaires at the time of diagnosis. We compared demographic variables (age at diagnosis, race/ethnicity, education, number of comorbidities, body mass index [BMI], and insurance type), treatment choice, and pretreatment QOL scores on the SF-36 and UCLA-PCI scales for the periods 1997 to 1999 or 2000 to 2003. Stratified analysis by risk category was performed for demographic and QOL data for the 2 periods. Race/ethnicity and insurance demographics were statistically different for the 2 periods. Low-risk patients also showed a statistically increased BMI in the 2000 to 2003 period. Risk category predicted performance on both inventories, with low-risk patients having better function than intermediate-risk patients and high-risk patients in the areas of urinary bother, bowel function and bother, and sexual function and bother, as well as in many general well-being and emotional health scales on the SF-36. We conclude that the "average" prostate cancer patient is white, 65 years of age, overweight, educated at a college level, and has 1 to 2 comorbidities. Patients report average or above-average pretreatment health-related QOL for all scales based on 2 validated instruments. In this cohort, more patients chose radical prostatectomy than any other form of treatment.

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