Doctor's Verdict: 'You Have Prostate Cancer'

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Cancer Consortium Seeks Volunteers for New Prostate Cancer Study; Cancer Consortium's Healing Choices Study Offers Help

"A patient can become confused or overcome with emotions when sitting in a doctor's office listening to various treatment options," says Michael Diefenbach, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Urology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the stu

The words "you have prostate cancer" leave patients and their families in shock, confusion and fear.

Then follows the inevitable: What next?

Recognizing the critically important lapse between the diagnosis and treatment, The Cancer Information Service Research Consortium (CISRC) is conducting a Healing Choices study that will try to determine if receiving a multimedia presentation of medical options helps patients make informed treatment decisions.

Patients who call toll-free, 866-258-7981, will receive one of two information packets, depending on which part of the study they become enrolled in. Some will receive a free, multimedia program and printed material. Others will receive only printed material.

Both groups will receive information that outlines various options for those who have had a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer. Those not qualifying for the study will be directed to other resources to help them with their questions.

"A patient can become confused or overcome with emotions when sitting in a doctor's office listening to various treatment options," says Michael Diefenbach, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Urology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and the study's lead investigator.

"This multimedia program allows patients and their families to watch and listen to various treatment options, which we feel will help them make a more informed decision," says Diefenbach.

“If a patient sees a radiologist, one can expect radiation as a recommended treatment. If they see a surgeon, then surgery often leads the list of options, Diefenbach says.

The study offers a neutral platform that explores and explains all the available options and helps patients identify the treatment choice that is best for them.

To be eligible to participate, the patient must have a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer and not have chosen any treatment.

Patients or family members must call the toll-free number for a brief interview before receiving further information. A follow-up interview will take place several months later.

During preliminary results of the study, the Cancer Information Service (CIS), which handles the inquiries, noticed that most calls related to prostate cancer came not from patients but from family members, usually the patient's wife.

"If you have been recently diagnosed, call," says Diefenbach. "If your loved one has prostate cancer, pick up the phone on their behalf and make the call. You will receive the best possible information, and your participation will help those who are diagnosed in the future."

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is funding the study with a grant to CISRC. The consortium is responsible for multiple field research projects utilizing NCI's Cancer Information Service Network, whose goal is to more effectively disseminate health information about cancer.

New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center, Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center, UCLA's Medical Center and the University of Denver's AMC Cancer Research Center are participating in the study.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 186,000 men will be diagnosed for prostate cancer this year.

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TOM PERIC

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