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BJU Int. 2011 Sep;108(6):851-6; discussion 856-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09945.x. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Provider and partner interactions in the treatment decision-making process for newly diagnosed localized prostate cancer.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.



• To evaluate the degree to which the partners of prostate cancer patients participate in the shared decision-making process with the patients' providers during the time between diagnosis and initiating treatment.


• We recruited patients with newly diagnosed local-stage prostate cancer and their partners to complete take-home surveys after biopsy but before initiating treatment at urology practices in three states. • We asked partners to describe their roles in the decision-making process, including participation in clinic visits, and perceptions of encouragement from providers to participate in the treatment decision-making process. We also asked partners to rate their satisfaction with the patients' providers.


• Family members of 80% of newly diagnosed patients agreed to participate; most (93%) were partners (i.e. spouses or significant others). Most partners (93%) had direct contact with the patients' physicians. • Among the partners who had contact with providers, most (67%) were very satisfied with the patients' providers and 80% indicated that the doctor encouraged them to participate in the treatment decision. Overall, 91% of partners reported very frequent discussions with their loved one about the pending treatment decision, and 69% reported that their role was to help the patient make a decision. • In multivariate models, provider encouragement of partner participation was associated with higher partner satisfaction (odds ratio 3.4, 95% CI 1.4-8.4) and an increased likelihood of partners reporting very frequent discussions with their loved one (odds ratio 6.1, 95% CI 1.3-27.7).


• Partners often attended clinic visits and were very involved in discussions about treatment options with both loved ones and providers. • Provider encouragement of participation by partners greatly facilitates shared decision-making between patients and partners.

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