Clinicians’ attitudes to prostate cancer peer-support groups
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OBJECTIVE To assess clinicians' knowledge and attitudes to prostate cancer peer-support groups, essential in improving support services for men with prostate cancer, as patients' perceptions of their clinicians' attitudes to such groups predict patients' positive and negative perceptions of their experiences at such groups. SUBJECTS AND METHODS In all, 36 clinicians (75% response) across Australia, of whom 27 were urologists and nine were radiation oncologists, were interviewed in-depth using a key-informant approach. Nine clinicians were from regional Australia, with the remaining 27 from major metropolitan settings. Subsequently, 30 clinicians (69% response) completed surveys to confirm identified themes. RESULTS Peer support was rated positively by most clinicians and most report a fair to good knowledge of such groups. However, less than a quarter regularly refer their patients to these groups. While clinicians can describe positive aspects of peer support, many are concerned that biased viewpoints and misinformation within these groups might potentially contribute to patients' decisional uncertainty and regret. CONCLUSIONS Further research is needed to establish for whom these support groups are most helpful. Concerns about misleading information that might be proffered in support groups is a barrier to clinician referral to these groups. Dialogue between prostate cancer interest groups and clinicians to resolve concerns presents as a key strategy to improve support for men with prostate cancer.
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Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified