More than half of radiation oncologists and urologists in the United States use prostate cancer (PCa) nomograms, but only about one-quarter use quality-of-life and life-expectancy prediction instruments, according to a study published in The Journal of Urology (2013;189:2092-2098).

Simon P. Kim, MD, MPH, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues used a nationally representative mail survey of prostate cancer specialists (313 radiation oncologists and 328 urologists) to assess clinical implementation of quality-of-life instruments, prostate cancer nomograms, and life-expectancy prediction tools in late 2011.

The researchers found that 55%, 27%, and 23% of the respondents reported using PCa nomograms, quality-of-life instruments, and life-expectancy prediction instruments, respectively. Compared with radiation oncologists, urologists were 60% less likely to use quality-of-life instruments. Compared with physicians who spent less than 15 minutes counseling patients, those who spent 30 minutes or more were 2.57, 1.83, and 1.85 times more likely to use quality-of-life instruments, PCa nomograms, and life-expectancy prediction tools, respectively.

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“Although prostate cancer nomograms have been implemented into clinical practice to some degree, the use of quality-of-life and life-expectancy tools has been more limited,” the authors write. “Increased attention to implementing validated instruments into clinical practice may facilitate shared decision making for patients with prostate cancer.”