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Provision of Individualized Information

to Men and Their Partners to Facilitate Treatment
Decision Making in Prostate Cancer
Downloaded on 06 23 2016. Single-user license only. Copyright 2016 by the Oncology Nursing Society. For permission to post online, reprint, adapt, or reuse, please email pubpermissions@ons.org

B. Joyce Davison, RN, PhD, S. Larry Goldenberg, MD, FRCSC, FACS,

Martin E. Gleave, MD, FRCSC, FACS, and Lesley F. Degner, RN, PhD

Purpose/Objectives: To determine if providing individualized infor- Key Points . . .

mation to men who are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and their
partners would lower their levels of psychological distress and enable
The Patient Information Program computer program provides
them to become more active participants in treatment decision making.
Design: Quasiexperimental, one group, pretest/post-test. clinicians with a method of assessing and providing informa-
Setting: The Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital in Brit- tion to men who are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and
ish Columbia, Canada. their partners.
Sample: Convenience sample of 74 couples. 73 men had early-stage Evidence indicates that such an individualized information de-
prostate cancer. Mean age of the men was 62.2 years, and mean age of cision support intervention assists men in becoming more ac-
the partners was 58.1 years. The majority (> 50%) had received their
tive participants in treatment decision making.
high school diplomas.
Methods: Respondents completed measures of decision preferences Provision of individualized information at the time of diagno-
and psychological distress at the time of diagnosis and four months sis lessens the psychological distress of couples after a defini-
later. All participants used a computer to identify their information and tive treatment decision has been made.
decision preferences. Computer-generated, graphic printouts were used
Further research is needed to explore how partners use infor-
to guide the information counseling session.
Findings: Patients reported assuming a more active role in medical
mation and how satisfied they are with their reported level of
decision making than originally intended, partners assumed a more involvement in treatment decision making at the time of diag-
passive role in decision making than originally intended, and all partici- nosis.
pants had lower levels of psychological distress at four months.
Conclusions: Evidence supports the need to provide informational
support to couples at the prostate cancer diagnosis to facilitate treat- ease or potential treatment options (Onel et al., 1998). Treat-
ment decision making and lower levels of psychological distress. Future ment choices often are made as a response to lay information
research is needed to evaluate this type of approach in the context of
or a result of a bias toward surgery as a cure (ORourke & Ger-
a randomized clinical trial design.
Implications for Nursing: The personalized, computer-graphic print-
mino, 1998). Informal sources such as family, friends, and men
outs can provide clinicians with an innovative method of guiding infor- with prostate cancer remain the most frequently cited sources
mation counseling and providing decisional support to men with pros- of information used by men and their partners (Davison &
tate cancer and their partners. Degner, 1997; Davison, Degner, & Morgan, 1995).
Men with prostate cancer have been shown to prefer to
participate in treatment decision making with their physicians
rostate cancer poses a significant health concern for

P men and their families. Currently, prostate cancer is the

most commonly diagnosed nonskin malignancy and
second most common cause of male cancer-related deaths in
(Davison & Degner, 1997; Wong et al., 2000), but the extent

B. Joyce Davison, RN, PhD, is a nurse scientist, S. Larry Golden-

North America (Jemal, Thomas, Murray, & Thun, 2002; Na- berg, MD, FRCSC, FACS, is the director of the Prostate Centre, and
tional Cancer Institute of Canada, 2002). Etiology remains un- Martin E. Gleave, MD, FRCSC, FACS, is director of clinical trials,
known, optimal treatment is controversial, survival rates vary, all at the Prostate Centre at Vancouver General Hospital in British
Columbia, Canada, and faculty of medicine at the University of Brit-
and all prostate cancer therapies have an impact on quality of ish Columbia. Lesley F. Degner, RN, PhD, is a professor with the
life (Brawley & Barnes, 2001; McPherson, Swenson, & Kjell- faculty of nursing at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. This re-
berg, 2001; ORourke, 2001). The diagnosis often is unex- search was supported by the Prostate Cancer Research Initiative, the
pected and particularly stressful for men and their partners as National Cancer Institute of Canada, and a Scholar Award to the
they first adjust to the cancer diagnosis and try to make sense first author from Vancouver General Hospital. (Submitted February
of the various treatment options. Although the majority of on- 2002. Accepted for publication May 15, 2002.) (Mention of specific
cology healthcare professionals believe that patients with can- products and opinions related to those products do not indicate or
cer should be involved in making informed treatment choices, imply endorsement by the Oncology Nursing Forum or the Oncol-
a significant number of men are presenting to physician offices ogy Nursing Society.)
for treatment discussions with little to no knowledge of the dis- Digital Object Identifier: 10.1188/03.ONF.107-114

DAVISON VOL 30, NO 1, 2003