[The accuracy of patients' perceptions of the risks associated with localised prostate cancer treatments]

To assess the accuracy of patients' perceptions of the risks associated with localised prostate cancer treatments (radical prostatectomy [RP], radiotherapy [RT], and active surveillance [AS]), and to identify correlates of misperceptions.

We used baseline data (questionnaires completed after treatment information was provided but before treatment) of 426 patients with newly diagnosed localised prostate cancer who participated (87% response rate) in a prospective, longitudinal, multicentre study. Patients' pretreatment perceptions of differences in adverse outcomes of treatments were compared to those based on the literature. We used univariate and multivariate linear regression to identify correlates of misperceptions.

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.

Nederlands tijdschrift voor geneeskunde. 2018 Jun 07*** epublish ***

M A van Stam, Neil K Aaronson, Henk G van der Poel, Jochem R N van der Voort van Zyp, Corinne N Tillier, Simon Horenblas, J L H R Bosch

Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Cancer Center, afd. Urologie, Utrecht., Nederlands Kanker Instituut-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis, afd. Psychosociaal onderzoek en Epidemiologie, Amsterdam., Nederlands Kanker Instituut-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis, afd. Urologie, Amsterdam., Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht, Cancer Center, afd. Radiotherapie, Utrecht.

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