Understanding patient and physician perceptions of benign prostatic hyperplasia in Europe: The Prostate Research on Behaviour and Education (PROBE) Survey

Int J Clin Pract. 2008 Jan;62(1):18-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01635.x. Epub 2007 Nov 19.


Aims: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a bothersome disease that can progress if left untreated. However, patient and urologist perspectives on BPH management are not fully understood. The aim of the Prostate Research on Behaviour and Education (PROBE) Survey was to assess healthcare-seeking behaviour and attitudes to BPH treatment in 502 BPH patients, and the beliefs and management practices of 100 urologists, from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Results: The principal concerns of patients seeking medical advice were fear of cancer, sleep disruption, discomfort or embarrassment. The majority of BPH patients recalled receiving a digital rectal examination (61%), routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests (67%) and prescription medication (72%). Eighty per cent of 5alpha-reductase inhibitor (5ARI) users vs. 68% of alpha-blocker users were satisfied with their treatment. More than half of the patients were concerned about requiring surgery or developing acute urinary retention, and >75% would prefer a drug that provides reduction in the risk of surgery than one that provides rapid symptom relief. Most urologists performed digital rectal examinations (96%) and PSA tests (71%) on >90% of patients presenting with BPH symptoms. Eighty-seven per cent of urologists believe that BPH progresses, and 78% believe that 5ARIs prevent BPH progression. However, most urologists prescribe alpha-blockers while few prescribe 5ARIs.

Conclusions: This study highlights discrepancies between views and beliefs of patients and physicians regarding BPH and current practice in Europe.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Europe
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Patient Participation
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Professional Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Hyperplasia / psychology*