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Impact of a decision aid on newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients' understanding of active surveillance

American researchers conducted a cross-sectional study on men with early stage prostate cancer who are given evidence based information.

Men with early stage prostate cancer who are given evidence based information, which includes patient accounts of living with the disease, are more likely to better comprehend the basis and justification for active surveillance as their management option.

American researchers conducted a cross-sectional study among 450 men with localised low-risk disease who were seen at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Centre, New Hampshire, during the period August 2007 to February 2011.

The men were sent a fact-based prostate cancer treatment decision aid (video or DVD based), which supplemented the face to face consultation and counselling. They also received text-based information including National Comprehensive Cancer Network patient guidelines and details of available formal and informal support.

Reasoning questionnaires

As well as reporting on demographic details, the men completed questionnaires assessing their understanding of the reasoning for active surveillance versus immediate surgery or

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Picture: Chris Woods

Men with early stage prostate cancer who are given evidence based information, which includes patient accounts of living with the disease, are more likely to better comprehend the basis and justification for active surveillance as their management option.

American researchers conducted a cross-sectional study among 450 men with localised low-risk disease who were seen at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Centre, New Hampshire, during the period August 2007 to February 2011.

The men were sent a fact-based prostate cancer treatment decision aid (video or DVD based), which supplemented the face to face consultation and counselling. They also received text-based information including National Comprehensive Cancer Network patient guidelines and details of available formal and informal support.

Reasoning questionnaires

As well as reporting on demographic details, the men completed questionnaires assessing their understanding of the reasoning for active surveillance versus immediate surgery or radiation treatment, and their knowledge of the survival of men with early stage prostate cancer.

A total of 53% of men who viewed the decision aid materials answered both questions correctly, compared to 30% of patients who did not watch the material. After multivariable logistic regression modelling adjustments, men who used the decision aids were almost three times as likely to answer the two questions accurately.

The authors suggest the findings from this illustrate the utility of providing information about active surveillance as a practicable and possible treatment decision.


Formica MK, Watson , Seigne JD et al (2017). Patient Education and Counselling 100, 5, 812-817. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2016.11.019.

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