A study looking at quality of life and follow up for men with prostate cancer (PROSPECTIV)

Cancer type:

Prostate cancer





This study looked at the quality of life and follow up care of men with prostate cancer and how it might be improved.

More about this trial

It can be difficult to cope with prostate cancer and its treatment. You might have problems with your:

  • bladder
  • bowels
  • sex life
  • levels of tiredness

You might also have emotional, social and relationship problems. All of these can affect your quality of life Open a glossary item.

We know from studies that many men with prostate cancer felt that the support and information they received wasn’t adequate.

The researchers wanted to gather information about problems affecting quality of life of men with prostate cancer. And what the men thought about the follow up care they had.

The aims of this study were to find:

  • how common problems affecting quality of life were for men with prostate cancer
  • about current follow up care
  • how satisfied men were with their follow up care

Summary of results

There were 2 stages to the PROSPECTIV study. These are the results of the 1st stage. When the results of the 2nd are available we will update this summary.

The study team found that there were a small number of men who had important physical, emotional and social issues. They considered this number to be significant.

Researchers posted a questionnaire to 546 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer 9 to 24 months ago. The questions asked about their quality of life, follow up care and satisfaction with their follow up care.

316 men returned a completed questionnaire.

The questions were grouped into 6 sections.

Satisfaction with care
61 men out of every 100 (61%) said they usually or always saw the same person at their out patients clinic appointment.

23 men out of every 100 (23%) said they saw a doctor who wasn’t the head of the medical team (the consultant).

20 men out of every 100 (20%) saw a nurse.

Generally the men reported being very satisfied with the follow up care they received. But their satisfaction was low when they compared how well their emotional needs were met with their physical needs.

Side effects of treatment
This section asked questions about problems in the past month, which may have been a result of treatments they had received. This included problems to do with having sex, problems passing urine and how their bowels worked.

10 men out of every 100 (10%) didn’t answer the questions about having sex. Many wrote down they thought the questions weren’t relevant to their situation.

Of those who did answer:

  • 82 men out of every 100 (82%) reported having problems
  • 46 men out of every 100 (46%) said it was a moderate or major problem for them
  • 44 men out of every 100 (44%) had talked about the problems at their last clinic appointment

Passing urine was a problem for 15 men out of every 100 (15%). The major concerns were to do with controlling the flow, leaking and needing to pass urine frequently. Most of these men had talked about their problems at their last clinic appointment.

Problems with their bowels had affected 5 men out of every 100 (5%). Over half of them had talked about it at their last appointment.

Unmet needs
The most common reported unmet needs were:

  • issues around sex and relationships
  • concern about significant others
  • anxiety about the cancer coming back

General health
The men’s overall score for general health was similar to scores seen in men not affected by cancer.

Emotional and mental (psychological) well being
The number of men who had anxiety or depression needing treatment was no higher than the general population.

But the level of anxiety and depression was higher for those men who reported having moderate or major problems.

Ability to manage effects of cancer
On a scale of 1 (not at all confident) to 10 (totally confident) the men were asked to rate how well they managed with daily activities. The average rating was an 8.

In general men were confident about coping with everyday issues such as tiredness, physical discomfort, and emotional distress.

About their cancer they felt generally confident about:

  • accessing information and support
  • dealing with problems caused by it
  • contacting their doctor if needed

The side effects that cause the most problems were linked to:

  • higher levels of anxiety
  • lower levels of confidence
  • greater unmet needs
  • a poorer overall health status

The study team concluded that for a small but significant number of men there are important physical and psychological issues that affect their quality of life. Ways to identify these men and to help them need to be tailored to the individual.    

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Eila Watson

Supported by

Prostate Cancer UK
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

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