"It's not like I can change my mind later": reversibility and decision timing in prostate cancer treatment decision-making

Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Nov;77(2):302-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.03.017. Epub 2009 Apr 21.


Objective: To explore whether reversibility, decision timing, and uncertainty are relevant to men deciding on treatment for localized prostate cancer (LPC).

Design: Secondary qualitative data analysis of unstructured interviews.

Methods: Content analysis of previously collected qualitative data (31 individual interviews, 5 focus groups). We identified the frequency of references to reversibility, decision timing, and uncertainty and related sub-themes.

Results: We identified eight themes: reversibility, timing of decision, number of options, "getting it over with," "the way I make decisions," uncertainty among experts, desire for certainty, and probability. Fifteen men mentioned reversibility in individual interviews; 13 mentioned the importance of the timing of their decision. Eleven mentioned the importance of the number of options; twelve "the way I make decisions." Eleven men mentioned the uncertainty of experts, fourteen the desire to "get it over with," and six a desire for certainty.

Conclusion: This study provides compelling preliminary data suggesting that men consider the reversibility, decision timing, and uncertainty in the prostate cancer treatment decision.

Practice implication: These findings may be helpful in enhancing support for men facing the treatment decision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Patient Participation
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Uncertainty*