For economically disadvantaged men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, poor knowledge about prostate cancer is associated with increased decisional conflict and lower perceived effectiveness of decision-making, according to a study published in Cancer (2014;120:2721-2727).

Alan L. Kaplan, MD, from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues surveyed 70 men with newly diagnosed localized prostate cancer enrolled in a trial to test a novel shared decision-making tool. The men had a mean age of 63 years, with 70% of them reporting annual income of less than $30,000. The Decisional Conflict Scale, Uncertainty Subscale, and Perceived Effectiveness Subscale were assessed as outcomes. Factors associated with decisional conflict were examined.

The researchers found that poor prostate cancer knowledge correlated with significantly elevated decisional conflict and with significantly higher uncertainty (P = 0.001). The study also demonstrated a significant association for poor knowledge with lower perceived effectiveness. Higher decisional conflict was significantly associated with being in a relationship (P = 0.03).

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“Interventions to increase comprehension of prostate cancer and its treatments may reduce decisional conflict,” the authors concluded. “Further work is needed to better characterize this relationship and identify effective targeted interventions.”