The patient's dilemma: prostate cancer treatment choices

H R Patel, S Mirsadraee, M Emberton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

PURPOSE: We summarize the literature addressing factors that influence treatment decisions made by men with prostate cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A MEDLINE search of the English language literature published between 1969 and 2000, using the combined MESH key words "prostatic neoplasms," "patient participation," "Internet" and "decision making," generated 181 abstracts. Only 23 of these publications addressed factors influencing treatment decisions made by men with prostate cancer. Nine additional relevant studies were identified from references in the original 23 articles. Subsequently a search for the term "prostate cancer" using several popular Internet search engines yielded more than 1 million hits. A further search was performed using the key words "prostate cancer" and "prostate" within on-line archives of the United Kingdom television channels BBC, ITV, and channels 4 and 5, and newspapers The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Observer, The Guardian and The Times.

RESULTS: When there is poor quality evidence or little professional consensus to support a particular treatment over another, no clinical guidelines regarding treatment are possible. Patients are faced with a series of options, and the data reveal that the process of choosing between these options is based on input from a large number of sources. These sources differ in the way that benefits of treatment are emphasized over harms and vice versa. We identified little evidence regarding which type of input exerts the greatest influence on patients. It may be that the sources associated with the most bias have the greatest influence.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a paucity of information on how patients with prostate cancer use different types of input in the treatment decision making process. The physician, as principal caregiver, still appears to have the most direct influence on patient choice. Just how long this status will continue is uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)828-33
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of urology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Compact Disks
  • Decision Making
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Participation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Videotape Recording


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