Remote consultations: experiences of UK patients with prostate cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic

Future Oncol. 2022 Oct;18(33):3713-3726. doi: 10.2217/fon-2022-0613. Epub 2022 Oct 17.

Abstract

Aim: Explore UK prostate cancer patients' experiences and preferences for in-person and remote consultations. Materials & methods: In January-March 2021, patients completed a survey of consultation format preferences. Results: Of 971 patients, most preferred in-person consultations when receiving diagnosis and results (92.3 and 66.5%, respectively) and discussing first and further treatment options (92.0 and 84.0%, respectively). Fewer patients considered follow-up (40.9%) or side effect consultations (47.7%) should be in person. Patients with longer travel preferred telephone consultations for receiving test results post-treatment. Patients over 55 preferred in-person consultations for discussing first treatment. Conclusion: To optimize prostate cancer care in the wake of COVID-19, we recommend patients have the option of consultation format, although key decisions should be made in person.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; prostate cancer; remote consultations; telemedicine.

Plain language summary

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a move away from in-person to remote consultations for patients with prostate cancer. However, it is not clear if remote consultations work well for every interaction. We surveyed UK-based men with prostate cancer about their preferences for consultation format. Patients wanted in-person consultations when receiving their diagnosis, discussing treatment options or getting test results after treatment. They were more accepting of remote consultations for regular follow-up or support with treatment side effects. Patients should ideally be offered a choice between in-person and remote consultations, although consultations should be in person when key decisions have to be made. These findings will be of value in planning care for patients with prostate cancer post pandemic.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Remote Consultation* / methods
  • Telemedicine* / methods
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology