Men need to be educated about prostate cancer

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Patients with little knowledge of prostate cancer have trouble making correct treatment choices.
Patients with little knowledge of prostate cancer have trouble making correct treatment choices.

A study found that poor understanding of prostate cancer was associated with greater difficulty deciding which treatment to choose and less confidence that the treatment would be effective – which could lead to worse quality of care and long-term results

The study included 70 men, with a median age of 63. All were newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer.

No one right answer

"For prostate cancer, there is no one right answer when it comes to treatment. It comes down to the right answer for each specific patient, and that is heavily dependent on their own personal preferences," study first author Dr. Alan Kaplan, a resident physician in the urology department at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a news release.

Read: What is prostate cancer?

"Men in general, and specifically economically disadvantaged men, have a hard time deciding what their preferences are, how they feel about any possible complications and what the future after treatment might be like. If you don't know anything about your disease, you'll have a really tough time making a decision," Kaplan explained.

The findings, published in the print issue of the journal Cancer, suggest that doctors need to identify and educate men with little knowledge about prostate cancer in order to help them feel more comfortable making treatment decisions.

Various treatment options

"If you get shot in the gut, there aren't many options. You go into the operating room to get fixed up. With prostate cancer, there are lots of options and not all are right for everybody." Kaplan said.

Read: Treating prostate cancer

Treatment options for prostate cancer include surgery, radiation, and burning or freezing tumours.

Alternatively, patients might choose active surveillance. That means they don't receive treatment but are closely monitored for changes in their cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. This year, about 233,000 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and nearly 30,000 will die from the disease, according to the university news release.

Read More:
Decisions about PSA screening
Causes of prostate cancer
Depression may up cancer risk

Image: Stethoscope with a blackboard labelled Prostate Cancer from Shutterstock


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