Background: Patients diagnosed with localized prostate carcinoma need to interpret complicated medical information to make an informed treatment selection from among treatments that have comparable efficacy but differing side effects. The authors reported initial results for treatment decision-making strategies among men receiving definitive treatment for localized prostate carcinoma.
Methods: One hundred nineteen men treated with radical prostatectomy (44%) or brachytherapy (56%) consented to participate. Guided by a cognitive-affective theoretic framework, the authors assessed differences in decision-making strategies, and treatment and disease-relevant beliefs and affects, in addition to demographic and clinical variables.
Results: Approximately half of patients reported difficulty (49%) and distress (45%) while making treatment decisions, but no regrets (74%) regarding the treatment choice they made. Patients who underwent prostatectomy were younger, were more likely to be employed, had worse tumor grade, and had a shorter time since diagnosis (P < 0.01) compared with patients who did not undergo prostatectomy. In multivariate analyses, compared with patients who received radical prostatectomy, patients who received brachytherapy were more likely to say that they chose this treatment because it was "the least invasive" and they "wanted to avoid surgery" (P < 0.0001).
Conclusions: In general, patients who received brachytherapy chose this treatment because of quality of life considerations, whereas "cure" and complete removal of the tumor were the main motivations for patients selecting radical prostatectomy. Long-term data are needed to evaluate distress and decisional regret as patients experience treatment-related chronic side effects and efficacy outcomes. Decision-making aids or other interventions to reduce decisional difficulty and emotional distress during decision making were indicated.