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Data Predicts Erectile Function After Cancer Treatment

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 21, 2011

"For most scenarios, the take-away message is that if the patient has chosen surgery, he will more than likely lose erectile function, whereas if he has chosen radiotherapy, he has a better than even chance of preserving it, at least for two years," Barry wrote.

Barry also lamented the Beth Israel Deaconess researchers did not include another consequence of prostate cancer treatment, incontinence, and said he hoped they "develop similar predictive models" for that outcome as well.

The study did have several limitations, in that it relied on patient report and was conducted at academic medical centers where outcomes are not always transferrable to community hospital settings. And its time frame of two years may have been two short to capture erectile function that is restored after a longer time frame after prostatectomy.

And it did not take into consideration the effects of rehabilitation regimens or control for the use of medications or devices. Nevertheless, they wrote, the formula used "indicates that this predictive model is generalizable despite these limitations."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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