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Decision making processes among men with low-risk prostate cancer: a survey study

To characterize decision-making processes and outcomes among men expressing early-treatment preferences for low-risk prostate cancer. We conducted telephone surveys of men newly diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer in 2012 to 2014. We analyzed subjects who had discussed prostate cancer treatment with a clinician and expressed a treatment preference. We asked about decision-making processes, including physician discussions, prostate-cancer knowledge, decision-making styles, treatment preference, and decisional conflict. We compared the responses across treatment groups with χ2 or ANOVA. Participants (n = 761) had a median age of 62; 82% were white, 45% had a college education, and 35% had no comorbidities. Surveys were conducted at a median of 25 days (range 9-100) post diagnosis. Overall, 55% preferred active surveillance (AS), 26% preferred surgery, and 19% preferred radiotherapy. Participants reported routinely considering surgery, radiotherapy, and AS. Most were aware of their low-risk status (97%) and the option for AS (96%). However, men preferring active treatment (AT) were often unaware of treatment complications, including sexual dysfunction (23%) and urinary complications (41%). Most men (63%) wanted to make their own decision after considering the doctor’s opinion, and about 90% reported being sufficiently involved in the treatment discussion. Men preferring AS had slightly more uncertainty about their decisions than those preferring AT. Subjects were actively engaged in decision making and considered a range of treatments. However, we found knowledge gaps about treatment complications among those preferring AT and slightly more decisional uncertainty among those preferring AS, suggesting the need for early decision support.

Authors: Hoffman RM; Van Den Eeden SK; Davis KM; Lobo T; Luta G; Shan J; Aaronson D; Penson DF; Leimpeter AD; Taylor KL

Psychooncology. 2018 01;27(1):325-332. Epub 2017-07-13.

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