Impact of the Primary Information Source Used for Decision Making on Treatment Perceptions and Regret in Prostate Cancer
To assess the impact of the primary source of information used by prostate cancer patients to select a radiation treatment on their overall treatment experience and on treatment regret.Methods:
Patients with low to favorable intermediate-risk prostate cancer treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, or high-dose rate brachytherapy were surveyed. The questionnaire explored the decision-making experience, treatment experience, and treatment regret.Results:
In total, 322 consecutive patients were surveyed with an 86% (n=276) response rate. In total, 48% (n=132) selected their radiation oncologist as the primary information source, 23% (n=62) selected their urologist, 16% (n=44) selected the Internet, 6% (n=17) selected other patients, and 8% (n=21) selected other. In total, 39% of patients who selected the Internet as their primary information source reported their actual treatment experience to be worse than expected versus 13% of respondents who selected their urologist, 12% who selected other patients, and 2% who selected their radiation oncologist (P<0.01). Similarly, 43% who selected the Internet as their primary information source endorsed treatment regret versus 10% who selected their urologist, and 7% who selected their radiation oncologist (P<0.01). On multivariate regression, only patients who selected the Internet as their primary information source were more likely to endorse treatment regret (odds ratio, 46.47; P<0.001) and a worse treatment perception (odds ratio, 83.33; P<0.001).Conclusions:
Patients who used the Internet as their primary information source were significantly more likely to endorse treatment regret and a worse than expected overall treatment experience. These data highlight the potential dangers of Internet-based resources and the importance for physicians to proactively counsel patients.