(Anne Harding, Reuters Health) Many prostate cancer patients do not understand the differences between their treatment options, a new study finds.
“This study shows that men facing [prostate cancer] treatment have a poor understanding of how their treatment decision will affect their lives,” Marie-Anne Van Stam of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands told Reuters Health.
“This means that they are often not able to understand the differences in outcomes and side effects among the different treatment options, and end up making decisions on instinct.”
Options for treating prostate cancer include removal of the prostate gland, radiation therapy and active surveillance, in which doctors monitor the cancer but don’t treat it unless it grows.
Van Stam and her team analyzed questionnaires completed by 474 prostate cancer patients who had just received information about their treatment options from a urologist.
Just over one-third were aware that cancer recurrence was just as likely with surgery as with radiation, while 39 percent were aware that prostatectomy increased the risk of incontinence.
Forty-five percent of respondents thought that patients on active surveillance always wound up receiving radiation or therapy later on.
In fact, according to Van Stam, only half of patients on active surveillance require definitive treatment.
Read the full story at Reuters. Also of interest:
Discovery May Improve Treatment for Prostate Cancer