Objective: To ascertain the current level of understanding about prostate cancer (PCa), including treatment options and potential side effects of treatment, among older men.

Design and Setting: Questionnaires administered by general practitioners (GPs) in 5 general practices in the Perth metropolitan and regional areas of Western Australia.

Participants: Convenience sample of men aged 40-80 years (n=503) with or without prostate cancer presenting for routine consultations.

Main outcome measures: Knowledge and attitudes of men to prostate cancer

Results: Eighty percent of men did not know the function of the prostate and 48% failed to identify PCa as the most common internal cancer in men. Thirty-five percent had no knowledge of the treatments for PCa and 53% had no knowledge of the side effects of treatments. Asked how they would arrive at a decision about treatment, 70% stated they would ask the GP/specialist for all their options and then decide themselves.

Conclusion: This study confirms a deficit in knowledge of the disease among men in the at risk age group. Lack of knowledge encompassed areas which could delay diagnosis and hence treatment. Overall the population preferred some GP/specialist involvement in treatment decision making.



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