Patient and clinician perspectives on treatment decision-making for African American men with prostate cancer.

Abramson S, Walker D, Sova L, Lin JJ, Fei K, Franco R, McAlearney AS
J Clin Oncol 34 186 03/01/2016


186 Background: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in the US, yet the burden of this disease falls disproportionately on African Americans (AAs). The disparity's etiology is complex. Surgery and radiotherapy offer similar survival but historically have different rates of performance with younger and white men more likely to undergo surgery and AAs more likely to experience underuse. This study aims to examine treatment decision-making (TDM) processes for AA men from patient and physician perspectives.

METHODS : At 1 academic and 1 municipal urban hospital, pathology records and a tumor registry from 2007-2012 were used to identify 359 AA and 282 white men with locally advanced prostate cancer, a Gleason score of 7-10, and receipt of definitive treatment. 15/17 treating physicians of participating patients were interviewed. Underuse overall was 4%, AA had higher rate of underuse compared to whites (6% vs. 1% respectively, p = 0.0002). 14 patients with longer times between diagnosis and treatment were recruited for 4 focus groups & 2 interviews lasting 60-90 minutes eliciting perspectives on themes related to TDM. Transcripts were coded and analyzed using a grounded theory approach.

RESULTS : Preliminary analysis of patient interviews suggests that patients primarily base their treatment decisions on physician recommendations. Patients were often unaware of treatment side effects. However, some patients felt this deficit helped them decide to receive treatment, whereas if they had known about possible impotence and incontinence, they would have refused treatment. Physicians recognized that patient concerns about side effects were a critical TDM factor. Physicians attributed prolonged delays between diagnosis and treatment to waiting times for tests of possible tumor spread and medical comorbidities.

CONCLUSIONS : Understanding decision making and care processes for AA men with local advanced prostate cancer is critical to reducing the treatment and outcome disparities in this population. This study identifies several patient and physician/system factors that contribute to this process. These data can help inform interventions to improve prostate cancer care for AA men.

Full Text