Article Abstract

What do urologists think patients need to know when starting on androgen deprivation therapy? The perspective from Canada versus countries with lower gross domestic product

Authors: Irena Rot, Richard J. Wassersug, Lauren M. Walker


Background: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) side effects are numerous and negatively impact prostate cancer patients’ quality of life. There is considerable discrepancy though among Canadian urologists regarding what ADT side effects and side effect management strategies. Little is known about global differences in ADT patient education.
Methods: International respondents were recruited via online posting and at an international urology conference. Hypotheses suggest that economic and cultural differences influence patient education practices; therefore, international respondents were divided into 3 categories (high, medium, and low gross domestic product).
Results: No differences were found between responses from Canadian urologists and high GDP countries. Compared to responses from low GDP countries, Canadian urologists are more likely to endorse informing patients about: osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, fatigue/sleep disturbance, relationship changes, cognitive changes, and loss of body hair. Infertility was the only side effect more often disclosed by urologists in low GDP counties. Recommended management strategies for hot flashes are more likely to be pharmaceutical in Canada, and behavioral in low GDP countries. Management strategies for gynecomastia are emphasized more in low GDP countries. Physical exercise is endorsed consistently more often by Canadian urologists.
Conclusions: ADT educational practices vary greatly between Canada and lower GDP countries. Factors that could contribute to differences include economics (e.g., ADT drug costs), differences in side effect presentation due to different ADT drugs used, racial differences in perceived side effect burden, disease status at ADT commencement, and cultural differences in patient-physician shared-decision making.