Radiation oncologists underuse quality-of-life tools

This article originally appeared here.
Radiation Therapy for Cancer (Fact Sheet)
Radiation Therapy for Cancer (Fact Sheet)

(HealthDay News) -- More than half of radiation oncologists and urologists in the United States use prostate cancer nomograms, but only about one-quarter use quality-of-life and life-expectancy prediction instruments, according to a study published in the June issue of The Journal of Urology.

Simon P. Kim, M.D., M.P.H., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues used a nationally representative mail survey of prostate cancer specialists (313 radiation oncologists and 328 urologists) to assess clinical implementation of quality-of-life instruments, prostate cancer nomograms, and life-expectancy prediction tools in late 2011.

The researchers found that 55, 27, and 23 percent of the respondents reported using prostate cancer nomograms, quality-of-life instruments, and life-expectancy prediction instruments, respectively. Compared with radiation oncologists, urologists were significantly less likely to use quality-of-life instruments (odds ratio, 0.40). Compared with physicians who spent less than 15 minutes counseling patients, those who spent 30 minutes or more were significantly more likely to use quality-of-life instruments, prostate cancer nomograms, and life-expectancy prediction tools (odds ratios, 2.57, 1.83, and 1.85, respectively).

"Although prostate cancer nomograms have been implemented into clinical practice to some degree, the use of quality-of-life and life-expectancy tools has been more limited," the authors write. "Increased attention to implementing validated instruments into clinical practice may facilitate shared decision making for patients with prostate cancer."

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