Prostate Cancer :: Men with prostate cancer more optimistic after several years of treatment than at diagnosis

Men being treated for prostate cancer feel more optimistic about their condition over time, reflecting their positive experience of treatment and the high level of trust they have in their specialist physician, according to results from a global survey1 providing unique insight into men’s experience of this common cancer.

In general, the majority of men surveyed trusted their specialist physician more than other health professionals, their family and those in other professions such as teachers or politicians.

The importance of trust and sources of information

Over one third of the men surveyed said that they trusted their specialist physician ‘completely’ and more than half said this trust had increased from when they were first diagnosed1. This high level of trust was also reflected in treatment recommendations, although one in five men surveyed felt that they would like to be more involved in treatment decisions and nearly one in three felt they were not aware of all the treatment options available to them1. Furthermore, the survey results revealed that patients’ desire for information about the disease and treatment options increased post diagnosis. In addition to their specialist physician, half of the men surveyed wanted to speak to another patient with prostate cancer who had received the same treatments as them1. The internet was not the most popular or trusted source of information for patients, although the internet was a more popular source amongst patients who participated in the survey from the US.

Commenting on the survey, Dr Heather Payne, Consultant in Clinical Oncology, Meyerstein Institute of Oncology, University College Hospital, London, UK said: “These results are really encouraging and reflect patients’ positive experience of their treatment and the importance of doctors working in partnership with patients and their families to achieve the best possible outcomes, particularly as many men with prostate cancer can survive for many years with effective treatment, often outliving the disease. While clearly many patients have a strong and trusting relationship with their specialist physician, one in three men still felt they were not aware of all treatment options available to them. As prostate cancer patients rely on their physicians for key information it is important that doctors provide their patients with information throughout the course of their treatment.”

Confidence and factors considered in treatment selection

The survey also revealed that nearly two thirds of respondents felt more optimistic about their prognosis now than at diagnosis and were confident that their treatment was working1. All the survey participants – 382 men with locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer from six countries around the world – had received ongoing hormonal therapy for at least a year. Control of their cancer, outliving their disease and maintaining an active life for as long as possible were the top three most important factors the men surveyed wanted from their hormonal treatment. These three factors were considered to be more important than treatment side-effects and symptom relief (each selected by only 3% of men). The most commonly used therapy in the men surveyed was the hormonal treatment ZOLADEX (goserelin), which this year celebrates 20 years since its first launch in the UK in 1987.

“The advent of treatments such as ZOLADEX (goserelin) over 20 years ago revolutionised prostate cancer therapy by providing a real alternative to surgical castration for men with advanced disease. Today, ZOLADEX (goserelin) is also often used with curative intent in combination with radiotherapy or surgery in men with locally advanced prostate cancer, with proven survival benefits. I believe this therapy will continue to play a key role in the future management of prostate cancer. The great benefit of hormonal treatments such as ZOLADEX (goserelin) is that today, after many years of treatment, we see in some patients that their predicted survival is the same as people of the same age who have never had prostate cancer. This is a remarkable achievement,” commented Dr Payne.

Prostate cancer primarily affects men over the age of 50 , and is the most commonly diagnosed male cancer in many western countries, with one man diagnosed every three minutes and a life lost to the disease every six minutes . The aim of treatment is to control the disease, whilst minimising side effects, allowing men to outlive their prostate cancer and maintain an active life for as long as possible.

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