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Prostate treatment decisions based on perception more than fact

Men with prostate cancer generally make treatment decisions based on differences in the information they receive rather than their own preferences, according to a new review. Published in the May 1, 2006 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the review of studies in prostate cancer decision making suggests that a lack of medical evidence and consistent, comprehensive messages about therapeutic options compel men to turn to a wide variety of popular and biased sources, which influence their decision. This approach often results in treatments that do not generally reflect patients' goals.

Despite new treatment options for prostate cancer, there is little evidence-based consensus in the oncology community about the most efficacious treatment. Newly diagnosed patients must still balance existing information about risks and benefits of available therapies with their own treatment objectives. Studies have shown that prostate cancer treatment varies not only among men in general but also by race and ethnicity, suggesting that the guidance patients receive is variable and confusing, and plays a part in their decision-making. Steven B. Zeliadt, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle and colleagues synthesized data from other studies to examine how and why men with prostate cancer make treatment decisions.

The review of current literature shows that cancer eradication or control was the foremost objective of treatment for men. Minimizing side effects ultimately played a minor role in decision making. However, studies report a gap between patient treatment objectives and the evidence supporting the efficacy of the treatment chosen. Men's concerns about controlling "the cancer" correlated directly with the aggressiveness of the treatment they chose, regardless of actual disease severity. Yet, in choosing treatment, patients did not consistently rely on scientific evidence of a therapy's efficacy to cont
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
27-Mar-2006


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