Improving health literacy and behaviour of people challenged with cancer.
In collaboration with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant, led by Professor Penelope Schofield, this project involves creating and determining the efficacy of an online treatment decision aid for men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer and their partners.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer affecting Australian men, with one in seven expected to receive a diagnosis by the age of 75. The side effects for men being actively treated for prostate cancer (through surgery, radiotherapy, brachytherapy or chemotherapy) can be ongoing and distressing. They can include urinary and bowel incontinence, and erectile and sexual dysfunction.
An alternative management strategy for low-risk prostate cancer is active surveillance (monitoring the tumour’s progress regularly) and the survival outcomes are equivalent to patients receiving the more invasive treatment options. However, it can be challenging for men to consider surveillance versus active treatment when confronted with a diagnosis of cancer.
We’ve developed a website that presents evidence-based, unbiased information about all management options including curative treatment options (surgery, brachytherapy and radiotherapy), and active surveillance. Participants and their partners can access this online information and an exercise to clarify and integrate their values into their treatment decision-making. As a control, randomly selected participants will use the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website for care decisions while the remainder use the Navigate website.
Participants complete a self-reporting questionnaire at the beginning of the project and again at one, three and six months to assess:
- Decisional conflict
- Patient—partner communication
- Decisional regret
- Health care costs
The Navigate project aims to help men understand the risks and benefits of each treatment option and their side effects, as well as reduce confusion, distress and decisional regret.