Women May Experience Worse Quality of Life Than Men After Bladder Cancer Surgery

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Important data may encourage gender-specific treatment making decisions for patients with bladder cancer.

Women with bladder cancer reported a significantly worse general health-related quality of life after a radial cystectomy (a procedure which removes the entire bladder), when compared with men receiving the same procedure, according to recent study results.

Compared to men, women who undergo a radial cystectomy suffer from a higher rate of mortality, though the precise ‘why’ was not fully understood. However, health-related quality of life differences between genders had not been assessed. The objective of this study was to assess those gender-specific disparities in health-related quality of life after a radial cystectomy, explained Dr. Thilo Westhofen, lead study author from the department of urology at the University Hospital at Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich in Germany, during the presentation of results.

The study, which was presented at the 2023 ASCO GU Symposium, included 421 women and 1,077 men. Health-related quality of life was assessed prior to surgery, first at three months then annually for up to 10 years.

Prior to surgery there was no significant difference in general health-related quality of life, but women did present with worse emotional and cognitive functioning subscales.

Between 48- and 96-months, health-related quality of life was significantly higher for men than for women. And at 12 months there was a significant correlation between physical functioning or urinary incontinence and increased general health-related quality of life, which was equally observed for men and women.

Of note, there was no significant correlation between sexual function and increased general health-related quality of life observed. And while there was a strong correlation between social/familial wellbeing and increased general health-related quality of life for women, there was no correlation for men.

“Those data are important to guide gender specific treatment decision-making for patients with (bladder cancer),” the authors wrote in the abstract.

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