Men’s experiences of radiotherapy treatment for localized prostate cancer and its long‑term treatment side effects: a longitudinal qualitative study

Eileen J Sutton*, J. Athene Lane, Michael J Davis, Eleanor I Walsh, David Neal, Freddie C Hamdy, Malcolm Mason, John Staffurth, Richard M Martin, Chris Metcalfe, TJ Peters, Jenny L Donovan , Julia Wade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


To investigate men’s experiences of receiving external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) with neoadjuvant Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) for localized prostate cancer (LPCa) in the ProtecT trial.
A longitudinal qualitative interview study was embedded in the ProtecT RCT. Sixteen men with clinically LPCa who underwent EBRT in ProtecT were purposively sampled to include a range of socio-demographic and clinical characteristics. They participated in serial in-depth qualitative interviews for up to 8 years post-treatment, exploring experiences of treatment and its side effects over time. Results
Men experienced bowel, sexual, and urinary side effects, mostly in the short term but some persisted and were bothersome. Most men downplayed the impacts, voicing expectations of age-related decline, and normalizing these changes. There was some reticence to seek help, with men prioritizing their relationships and overall health and well-being over returning to pretreatment levels of function. Some unmet needs with regard to information about treatment schedules and side effects were reported, particularly among men with continuing functional symptoms.
These findings reinforce the importance of providing universal clear, concise, and timely information and supportive resources in the short term, and more targeted and detailed information and care in the longer term to maintain and improve treatment experiences for men undergoing EBRT.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2021


  • Prostate cancer
  • Radiotherapy
  • External-beam radiotherapy
  • Treatment experiences
  • Treatment side effects
  • Qualitative research

Cite this