The accuracy of patients’ perceptions of the risks associated with localised prostate cancer treatments
About two-thirds (68%, n = 211) of the patients did not understand that the risk of disease recurrence is comparable between RP and RT.
More than half of the patients did not comprehend that RP patients are at greater risk of urinary incontinence (65%, n = 202) and erectile dysfunction (61%, n = 190), and less at risk of bowel problems (53%, n = 211) compared to RT patients.
Many patients overestimated the risk of requiring deﬁnitive treatment following AS (45%, n = 157) and did not understand that mortality rates following AS, RP, and RT are comparable (80%, n = 333).
Consulting a radiotherapist or a clinical nurse specialist was positively associated with, and emotional distress was negatively associated with, better understanding of the risks (P<0.05), although effect sizes were small.
Prior to choosing treatment, most patients with prostate cancer poorly understood the differences in treatment risks.Greater efforts should be made to better understand why these misperceptions occur and, most importantly, how they can be corrected.
RP = Radical Prostatectomy
RT = Radiation Therapy
AS = Active Surveillance