Objective: To determine whether patient-reported health status, more so than comorbidity, influences treatment in men with localized prostate cancer. Methods: Using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data linked with Medicare claims and CAHPS surveys, we identified men aged 65-84 diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from 2004 to 2013 and ascertained their National Cancer Institute (NCI) comorbidity score and patient-reported health status. Adjusting for demographics and cancer risk, we examined the relationship between these measures and treatment for the overall cohort, low-risk men aged 65-74, intermediate/high-risk men aged 65-74, and men aged 75-84. Results: Among 2724 men, 43.0% rated their overall health as Excellent/Very Good, while 62.7% had a comorbidity score of 0. Beyond age and cancer risk, patient-reported health status was significantly associated with treatment. Compared to men reporting Excellent/Very Good health, men in Poor/Fair health less often received treatment (odds ratio [OR] 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.56-0.90). Younger men with intermediate/high-risk cancer in Good (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.41-0.88) or Fair/Poor (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.30-0.79) health less often underwent prostatectomy vs radiation compared to men in Excellent/Very Good health. In contrast, men with NCI comorbidity score of 1 more often received treatment (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.11-1.70) compared to men with NCI comorbidity score of 0. Conclusion: Patient-reported health status drives treatment for prostate cancer in an appropriate direction whereas comorbidity has an inconsistent relationship. Greater understanding of this interplay between subjective and empiric assessments may facilitate more shared decision-making in prostate cancer care.
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