Lack of awareness in aged men reagarding prostate cancer treatment options

Prostate cancer remains one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. In fact, one in six men will develop prostate cancer. It is also the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States. But a recent survey suggests that many men at risk for the cancer still aren't aware of all available treatment options.

The survey, conducted late last year, reveals that nearly 50% of men aged 40 and older are not aware of the most common approach to surgery for prostate cancer -- robotic-assisted surgery to remove the prostate.

"I had to do my own research and then self-admit myself to the [hospital]," says surgery patient Tim Propheter. " ... Most people are just told ... 'Sorry, you have to have surgery, and we'll set you up for such and such day,' and they don't know any better until they run into someone like me," he says.

This lack of information persists despite the fact that prostate cancer treatment has changed dramatically in the last decade. For example, surgery -- which remains the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer -- has become much less invasive. According to the American Urologic Association, the major benefit of prostatectomy, or prostate removal, is a potential "cancer cure" in patients with localized or early stage cancer.

Research suggests that patients are not only seeking information on treatment options, but those who research their options are more than three times as likely to receive newer treatments than patients who don't seek information.

Meanwhile, men today are now being screened for prostate cancer at younger and younger ages. For these men, functional results -- continence and potency -- have increasingly serious relevancy. As middle-aged men with a full life ahead of them, they face difficult choices between treatments that could save their lives but seriously impact their quality of life. These difficult decisions can overwhelm patients who may not know much about prostate cancer at the time of their diagnosis.

"If I have any regrets looking back, one would be my prior level of ignorance about prostate cancer," says prostate surgery patient and writer Raymond Jones, referring to his diagnosis. "Nonetheless, my diagnosis was one of the better ones available in the world of cancer. I feel lucky to have had such an outstanding level of care," Jones concludes.

The survey also revealed that most men (39%) are likely to go to their primary care physician first for information on treatment. Yet, nearly 34% of men indicated that they are only likely to begin their research after they have symptoms. At this point, it may be too late to receive a potential cure offered by surgery: In cases of prostate cancer, symptoms usually occur when cancer has progressed to an advanced stage.

The good news about prostate cancer is that today, men who are diagnosed early can beat prostate cancer. And, effective treatment options like minimally invasive da Vinci Surgery can offer potential benefits like effective cancer control, improved and early return of sexual function and urinary continence, and a fast recovery.

"I expected to experience a time where I would be completely incapacitated, followed by a prolonged period of healing, but that was never the case," says surgery patient Sheldon Hough. "If I had one message for men, it would be that there is significant hope. Don't postpone getting regular prostate screenings. And if you are faced with a prostate cancer diagnosis, know your options and seek out the best possible care."

The Awareness Initiative

The survey results underline the fact that awareness of prostate cancer and available treatment options remains low -- even among at-risk men who could benefit from this critical information. This remains the case even at a time when prostate cancer treatment has been identified by the Obama administration as one of the top 10 priorities for comparative effectiveness research -- one of the first steps towards national healthcare reform.

To leverage this spotlight and to highlight the importance of National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, Intuitive((R)) Surgical is launching the da Vinci((R)) Surgery Awareness Initiative.((TM)) The Awareness Initiative is supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation in a national campaign reaching millions of people with the goal of educating the public about prostate cancer and raising funds to cure cancer.

The objective of the Awareness Initiative is to inform the community about prostate cancer: How it is detected, what causes the disease and how it is commonly treated. Hundreds of hospitals nationwide are participating in the Awareness Initiative through various locally sponsored events designed to increase awareness and featuring varied activities including cancer screening, guest speakers, health fairs, family and sports events.



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Active commuters less likely to suffer from heart disease and cancer, new research shows