Appraising risk in active surveillance of localized prostate cancer

Among men with localised prostate cancer, active surveillance is preferred over treatments such as radiotherapy or hormone therapy, due to the low likelihood of mortality. However, it is important for patients to understand the risks involved in active surveillance. A new study has investigated how men with localised prostate cancer appraise the risks of entering active surveillance, through interviews with patients and clinicians, and observing discussions between patients and clinicians. The results showed that patients’ perceptions of risk were focused on how the diagnosis would affect their length and quality of life, and how it would impact on their personal priorities. Once patients understood the risks involved in active surveillance, they generally sought reassurance from the clinician about their treatment decision. In future, effective risk communication, in a structured manner, could be improved by tailoring information to individual patients’ priorities.

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