According to a new study by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Los Angeles, California, educating men about their prostate cancer is key to making the best decisions about what is best way to treat their prostate cancer. Researchers at UCLA found that men who are not educated about prostate cancer face challenges surrounding treatment decisions.
The study, which was published in the journal Cancer, took place over 1 year at a Veterans Administration clinic in Los Angeles. Researchers surveyed 70 newly diagnosed men with localized prostate cancer that had enrolled in this randomized trial to study a new shared decision-making tool. By talking to patients, researchers discovered that a low level education about prostate cancer was linked to increased uncertainty about the best prostate cancer therapy for them.
There are various therapies available for men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. Patients may opt for active surveillance for the time being or may consider approaches like radiation and surgery. Oncology nurses and physicians can help a patient through the decision-making process by discussing the various treatment options available to him. If a clinician knows the patient has poor knowledge about his cancer, more time should be spent with him.
They say knowledge is power, and a new UCLA study has shown this is definitely the case when it comes to men making the best decisions about how to treat their prostate cancer.
UCLA researchers found that men who aren’t well educated about their disease have a much more difficult time making treatment decisions, called decisional conflict, a challenge that could negatively impact the quality of their care and their long-term outcomes.
The study should serve as a wake-up call for physicians, who can use the findings to target men less likely to know a lot about their prostate cancer and educate them prior to their appointments so they’re more comfortable making treatment decisions, said study first author Dr. Alan Kaplan, a resident physician in the UCLA Department of Urology.