13% rate of decision regret observed
Researchers found the overall rate of treatment decision regret was 13%. But when they dug deeper into how men arrived at those decisions, they found treatment regret among 7% of men who said radiation oncologists were their primary information source, 10% who indicated their urologist was the primary source, and 43% whose main source of information was the Internet. Other patients, family, and friends made up only 13% of the sample.
Dr. Shaverdian and colleagues then did a multivariable analysis looking at other factors that might impact patients’ regret, including treatment type, race, age, marital status, and more.
The Internet still came out on top as being the factor contributing to the most regret.
“Patients who said that the Internet versus the radiation oncologists was their primary source of information were 46 times more likely to have regret for their treatment,” he said.
In another aspect of the research, which wasn’t presented at the symposium, researchers asked patients about their primary factors for receiving treatment. Thirty-seven percent of men said the most important factor was having the highest chance of cure; 27% said they wanted the least side effects; and 16% said they wanted the most medically advanced treatment.
“We found that the men who chose the Internet for treatment decision-making as a primary source were most likely to select that the most important factor was receiving the least side effects,” Dr. Shaverdian said. “Physicians need to be aware that patients may come in with these unrealistic toxicity expectations that have been reinforced by some [low-quality] Internet sources. Physicians have to be proactive in their counseling. They need to know that patients may have formed an opinion, and that opinion may be based off of incorrect information.”
The next step in the research is to classify Internet sources, according to Dr. Shaverdian.
“I think the next step is to find out what sources are problematic to patients and also ways to steer patients that are making decisions to the better websites,” he said.
One of Dr. Shaverdian’s co-authors has an employment/leadership role and has stock and other ownership interests in Varian Medical Systems, and another co-author has received honoraria from ViewRay.
More on Prostate Cancer:
Subscribe to Urology Times to get monthly news from the leading news source for urologists.