Article Title

Patients' attitudes to prostate cancer

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To ascertain the knowledge of and attitudes to prostate cancer among older men in a general practice population.

METHOD: All men aged 40 years and older attending a solo suburban general practice during a 12 month period were invited to take part in the study.

RESULTS: A total of 353 completed questionnaires (99.4%) were obtained from a targeted population of 355. The major areas of knowledge deficiency were in prostate gland function and possible side effects of treatments used for cancer management. The vast majority were in favour of getting rid of the cancer even if this resulted in incontinence or impotence. A sizeable minority (22.4%) would prefer aggressive treatment rather than 'watchful waiting' even if their cancer was slow growing.

CONCLUSION: Despite heightened public awareness about prostate cancer in recent years, significant deficiencies exist in patients' knowledge about the condition. General practitioners, as the point of first contact with the health system, have a major role to play in ensuring their prostate cancer patients are well informed about the nature of the condition and the treatment options available.

Keywords

prostatic neoplasms, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, antineoplastic agents

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