When Primary Care Providers (PCPs) Help Patients Choose Prostate Cancer Treatment

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Abstract

Background:

The role of primary care providers (PCPs) in decision making around cancer care remains largely unknown. We evaluated how frequently men with localized prostate cancer report receiving help from their PCP about their treatment, and whether those men who do are less likely to receive definitive treatment.

Methods:

We mailed surveys to men newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer between 2012 and 2014 in the greater Philadelphia region. Participants were asked whether their PCP helped decide how to treat their cancer. The outcome was receipt of definitive treatment (either radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy).

Results:

A total of 2386 men responded (adjusted response rate, 51.1%). Among these men, 38.2% reported receiving help from their PCP regarding choosing a treatment, and 79.6% received definitive treatment. In adjusted analyses, non-Hispanic black men (odds ratio, 1.76; 95% confidence interval, 1.37–2.27) were more likely than non-Hispanic white men to report receiving help from their PCP. However, men who did receive help were not more likely to forgo definitive treatment overall (P= .58) or in the subgroups of men who may be least likely to benefit from definitive treatment.

Conclusions:

Though a substantial proportion of men reported receiving help from their PCP about prostate cancer treatment, these discussions were not associated with different treatment patterns. Further effort is needed to determine how to optimize the role of PCPs in supporting patients to make preference-sensitive cancer decisions.

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