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Prostate Cancer Patients Seek Several Information Sources

Information source may have a moderate effect on treatment choice of newly diagnosed men

FRIDAY, Sept. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Between diagnosis of local stage prostate cancer and treatment, men access an average of five information sources, according to a study published in the September issue of Urology.

Scott D. Ramsey, M.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues surveyed 804 prostate cancer patients in Washington state and California, most of whom had not yet started therapy.

The researchers found that, on average, the men consulted nearly five information sources before treatment. The most common information sources were the patients' physician (97 percent), patient-education materials (76 percent), other health professionals (71 percent), friends with prostate cancer (67 percent), and the Internet (58 percent). Although more than 70 percent of the men reported that they were considering or planning one type of therapy, those who consulted the Internet were more likely to consider multiple treatment options. Compared to age, comorbidity and Gleason score, the researchers found the source of information had a moderate association with treatment preference.

"My fondest and perhaps the most forlorn wish is for a truly unbiased source of information for patients facing difficult questions," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Questions for which, admittedly, there might be no perfect answer. We should innovate. I suggest we need unbiased knowledgeable physician counselors who can be available to patients live or through electronic means."

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