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J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2014 Jun;20(3):199-209. doi: 10.1177/1078155213495285. Epub 2013 Oct 11.

What do Canadian uro-oncologists believe patients should know about androgen deprivation therapy?

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  • 1Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Patients prescribed luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists for androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) have significant misconceptions about treatment side effects and how to manage them. We surveyed a subset of Canadian physicians about what they think is important information to tell patients starting on ADT to determine the degree to which there is consensus of opinion.

METHOD:

A questionnaire about ADT side effects and management strategies was distributed to physicians-urologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists - actively practicing within cancer and urology centers in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and the Maritime Provinces.

RESULT:

A total of 75 physicians filled out the survey. Physicians agreed that osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, loss of libido, and loss of muscle mass were drug responses that were essential or important to warn patients about. However, for six commonly reported side effects (i.e. depression, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, anemia, delayed or absent orgasm, and genital shrinkage), physicians showed great variance, with less than 60% agreeing on whether to discuss these topics or not.

CONCLUSION:

There is little consensus among physicians regarding what to tell patients when prescribing this treatment. The lack of agreement among physicians may partially explain the lack of awareness of ADT side effects by patients and partners. The current findings may help guide strategies for the design, evaluation, and implementation of educational interventions for both physicians and patients that will better prepare patients to recognize, adapt to, and overcome ADT side effects.

KEYWORDS:

Prostate cancer; androgen deprivation therapy; health care practices; patient education; side effects

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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