porpus: patient-oriented prostate utility scale
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About the PORPUS

The Patient Oriented Prostate Utility Scale (PORPUS) measures Quality of Life for men with prostate cancer. It asks about symptoms that are common for prostate cancer, its treatments, and treatment side effects. This page describes the PORPUS and how to use it.

Using the PORPUS in clinical practice

The PORPUS provides a quick, reliable and responsive way to get an overall sense of Quality of Life for men with prostate cancer.

Research suggests that having patients fill out a Quality of Life questionnaire just before meeting with their physician may help patient-physician communication about Quality of Life problems.

If you would like to use the PORPUS in your practice, feel free to download a pdf and use it as many times and with as many patients as you like. We would appreciate any feedback you have about the questionnaire.

Using the PORPUS in research

The PORPUS is a utility instrument designed specifically for men with prostate cancer.

What is Utility?

"Utility" is a way of assigning a number to health-related quality of life. Utilities are used in decision analyses, cost-effectiveness analyses, clinical trials, and population surveys . A utility is a number that is usually between 0 for death and 1 for full health. Numbers less than 0 (for example, -0.12) are possible for conditions that some people consider to be worse than death.

Utilities are one way to understand different people's ideas of how good or bad something is. For example, two patients may have similar symptoms of urinary incontinence (leaking), but one may tolerate it well, while the other finds it extremely disabling.

Why is utility important?

Utility is a way to measure patient preferences. Patient preferences are especially important when considering different health services for localized prostate cancer because: 1) all treatments have relatively modest and similar effects on cancer mortality; and 2) side effects are common and may last for a long time.

Why we developed the PORPUS

There are some very good prostate cancer-specific psychometric instruments available for use (e.g., UCLA-Prostate Cancer Index1, EPIC2), but they do not generate utility scores. On the other hand, generic utility instruments, such as the EQ-5D4 and Health Utilities Index (HUI)4, do not represent prostate cancer outcomes (e.g., sexual, urinary, bowel dysfunction) and may not capture their full impact on Quality of Life. Therefore, a prostate cancer-specific utility instrument was needed .

Instruments for measuring quality of life

Construction of the PORPUS

The PORPUS contains 10 questions. There are 5 general questions (pain, energy, emotional well-being, social well-being, and relationship with physician) and 5 prostate cancer-specific questions (sexual function and desire, urinary frequency and incontinence, and bowel function), each with four to six possible answers5.

We chose the questions by first reviewing the literature and then discussing our ideas with a panel of 3 urologists, 2 radiation oncologists, a medical oncologist, 2 psychologists, and 2 urology nurses with clinical expertise in prostate cancer. Also, we asked 80 prostate cancer patients to describe how prostate cancer and its treatment affected their lives. We reviewed the final questions with experts and patients.

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