Variation in the informational needs of men with localized prostate cancer

In a newly published paper based on work by a Swiss research team, the authors come to the  conclusion that there is vast variation in the informational needs of men diagnosed with relatively early stage prostate cancer. This will come as no great surprise to most prostate cancer support group leaders and other prostate cancer educators!

Between 3 and 24 months after their initial diagnosis, Schaffert et al. sent a well-established, written survey with 92 different questions to 330 men, all of whom had been diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer at one of four Swiss urology clinics.

Here is a summary of their key findings:

  • 179/330 men (54.2 percent) responded to the questionnaire.
  • 128/179 questionnaires (71.5 percent) provided data appropriate for statistical analysis.
  • Each of the 92 questions asked was categorized as “essential” in at least 23 (18 percent) of the 128 questionnaires suitable for analysis.
  • An average of 50 questions were rated as essential in the 128 questionnaires suitable for analysis.
  • The re were profound differences in what was considered to be “essential” by individual patients.
    • One patient ranked only four questions as being “essential.”
    • One patient ranked all 92 questions as “essential.”

The authors conclude that it is important for clinicians to identify and to act appropriately on the individual information needs of each specific prostate cancer patient.

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