Designing Normative Messages About Active Surveillance for Men With Localized Prostate Cancer.

Active surveillance is increasingly recognized as a reasonable option for men with low-risk, localized prostate cancer, yet few men who might benefit from conservative management receive it.

The authors examined the acceptability of normative messages about active surveillance as a management option for patients with low-risk prostate cancer. Men with a diagnosis of localized prostate cancer who were recruited through prostate cancer support organizations completed a web-based survey (N = 331). They rated messages about active surveillance for believability, accuracy, and importance for men to hear when making treatment decisions.

The message "You don't have to panic … you have time to think about your options" was perceived as believable, accurate, and important by more than 80% of the survivors. In contrast, messages about trust in the active surveillance protocol and "knowing in plenty of time" if treatment is needed were rated as accurate by only about 36% of respondents.

For active surveillance to be viewed as a reasonable alternative, men will need reassurance that following an active surveillance protocol is likely to allow time for curative treatment if the cancer progresses.

J Health Commun. 2015 Jun 11:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Volk RJ1, Kinsman GT, Le YC, Swank P, Blumenthal-Barby J, McFall SL, Byrd TL, Mullen PD, Cantor SB.

a Department of General Internal Medicine , The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center , Houston , Texas , USA.