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Prostate Cancer Patients Report 'Information Gap'

Early-stage patients may not receive enough information to make sound treatment decisions

TUESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Men with early-stage prostate cancer often receive incomplete and inconsistent information about their treatment options, according to the results of a study published in the May issue of Urology.

Ricardo A. Rendon, M.D., of the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and colleagues sent questionnaires to 270 patients, including 135 who underwent radical prostatectomy and 135 who underwent external beam radiotherapy. The questionnaires addressed six thematic subsets: treatment choices, surgery treatment details, radiation treatment details, surgery risks/benefits, radiation risks/benefits, and personal considerations. The report indicates that 138 patients (51 percent) returned the questionnaires.

The content and amount of information varied among the patients depending on their physician. For example, the patients of radiation oncologists knew more about external beam radiotherapy than the patients of uro-oncologists. The researchers also found that there was a statistically significant information gap in all six thematic subsets.

"This study revealed that men do not have all the information they think is required when they are making their treatment decisions," the authors conclude. "Finally, this study revealed that there is variation in the amount and content of information patients recall, depending on who their treating physician is, suggesting a lack of uniformity in the content and presentation of information to patients by their physicians."

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