Prostate cancer patients misled

Prostate cancer surgeons have been withholding information from patients.

Prostate cancer patients misled

Concerns have arisen that prostate cancer sufferers are not being properly informed about their treatment options and are being pushed into having costly surgery.  

Each year in Australia, 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. With treatment, nine out of 10 men survive five years from the time of diagnosis. The current treatment options include surgery or radiotherapy. If the operation is performed in a private hospital, it usually costs at least $20,000.

Patients and radiologists are concerned that urologists, the specialists who perform the surgery, are failing to give patients information about radiotherapy. This results in more men electing to have surgery when it might not be necessary – and having to foot the bill.

For lower-income families and those living on pensions, being able to afford surgery is often out of the question, as it can lead to debt and financial hardship. A significant issue is that information about free radiotherapy is only provided to patients after they have stated they cannot afford surgery.

Not advising patients of vital information about non-surgical treatment is occurring across the nation. Many men are “not fully informed about their options for treatment”, says radiation oncologist Sandra Turner from the Westmead Hospital in Sydney.

Associate Professor Turner, who has been treating prostate cancer for 20 years says, “Men can be very influenced by the way that surgeons present information”, and “are not in a position to choose their treatment until they have actually heard their treatment options from the experts involved”, she says.

Radiotherapy, a non-surgical treatment, is believed to be just as effective as surgery. Although radiotherapy takes longer than surgery, it is available for free at public hospitals.

Associate Professor Turner says the problem is systemic, occurring across the board in the Australian medical profession, and it has taken too long for the truth to be revealed.  

Read more at ABC.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    27th May 2015
    In my husband's case, we were thoroughly versed with all of the options available. We took time to make a decision and opted for the $20,000 operation. My husband is now cured and he has little side effects associated with this operation. Making the wrong choice can be the difference between life and death, unbearable side effects and a reasonable life post op. Everybody should take the time to look into the options carefully. Information is everywhere.
    27th May 2015
    My husband is currently undergoing igebrt - image guided electronic beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer. We were given all the options available by the Urologist (private), who recommended us to the Public Hospital for treatment. At no time was the question of money/affordability raised by anyone! From a wellness study group at a University that my husband was invited to join again at no cost to himself, through talking with other men, he found that they also, were given all the available options. It would seem that with the men my husband has had interaction, in every case, it was the Patient who was given the choice of treatment, not the Urologist demanding surgery! The article, imho, was not researched fully, before making claims which may cause unnecessary fear/worry for men and their partners who are just beginning on this pathway.
    27th May 2015
    About 15 years back a friend elected to have radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer which had progressed to the pelvis but that procedure damaged his bowel & that caused him lots of pain & problems.
    27th May 2015
    I am sorry to hear about your friend! The igebrt I mentioned above was possibly not available back then. Seeds of gold are implanted around the cancer and then a visit to the radiologist who takes precise measurements from the scan and "tattoos" marks on the body. The patient who is treated every working week day for the prescribed time, must have a "comfortably" full bladder and have also had a bowel movement prior to treatment. These two functions ensure the organs are kept away from the cancerous area, and the radiation is a beam which hones in on the "seeds of gold" and bypasses the rest. This is said to be the most minimally invasive/organ damage method of radiation at the present time. We did ask about the new surgery available at great cost, the Urologist and the Oncology Professor both said my husband's cancer was such, that any type of surgery was not recommended.
    27th May 2015
    My experience was 14 years ago. The urologist that I first saw wanted to operate within three weeks but I wasn't satisfied and saw another specialist for a second opinion. His opinion was that, because of my diabetes & heart problems, I would probably died on the table. He referred me on and it was finally decided that I should have radiotherapy.
    My PSA levels are about less than one with a slow increase over those years and my doctor is pleased. So am I because so many men that I know suffered, physically and mentally, from the side effects of surgery. I am glad that I asked for that second opinion with the worst aspect being having to live in Perth for two months because radiation is not available in the country.
    Recently my youngest brother had a Cyberknife treatment with success.
    My advice ir to always get a second opinion and remember that surgeons cut.
    27th May 2015
    Under state and federal legislation you have to have Informed Financial Consents IFC's from the surgeon anaethetist and hospital. If you do your due diligence you can ring the pathology company and get a rough estimate of your out of pockets. Even with our top health insurance we were out of pocket over 15 thousand dollars. I had just won $17,000.00 in a competition otherwise we could not have afforded it. His cancer had gone outside the capsule and his PSA continues to rise. Would I do it again Absolutely he is more valuable than the dollar
    Nan Norma
    27th May 2015
    My husband choose a operation having decided it was better to 'get rid of it' entirely. Paid nothing in a very good public hospital.
    27th May 2015
    STREWTH !! Got rid of what ? :-(
    27th May 2015
    I opted for surgery and paid nothing in a Pte hospital as I am a pensioner and fully insured. Was ready to go home after 4 days but a skin infection kept me in another 4. The cancer was contained in the capsule and my PSA readings remain at 0.01.
    I was fully informed about all options, but I ruled out ray treatment as the 5 days a week for 7 weeks treatment would probably wear me down, as I suffer from severe depression.
    Surgery was the right option for me, but it is an individual's personal choice depending on their circumstances.
    27th May 2015
    I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about 12 years ago and have been on hormone treatment periodically since then. So why are you only giving operation or Radiology as successful treatments. It doesn't make sense as I have other friends who have also successfully used hormone treatment. IE lucrine or Zoladex 3monthly injections.
    P s iam 76 now and still happy and active
    27th May 2015
    I hate it when an Expert has to seek a Second Opinion !! :-(
    27th May 2015
    I had my prostate removed by Davinchi Robot in 2008. In one day out the next. A friend chose radiotherapy, it worked only for a few years and he just died. Catch it early and get rid of it.
    27th May 2015
    My husband did too. You can only have one treatment and it needs to be successful. There is no messing around with very aggressive prostate cancer.
    Young Simmo
    27th May 2015
    A few months ago I thought I had joined the Prostate Problems club but found very quickly what was wrong. My Dr prescribed LYRICA tablets for the Peripheral Neuropathy in my feet. After about a day of taking them I couldn't pee sitting down and only managed a dribble standing up. I went back to my Dr who finally looked up the information which said, "Can cause enlargement of the prostrate". I stopped taking the LYRICA and it probably took 4 or 5 days to get back to normal. A couple of weeks later after my continuous complaining of my burning stinging feet my Dr prescribed TREGRETOL 100 tablets. I got the same result and dumped them. So be careful fellas their are some nasties out there, that can lead you down the wrong path.
    29th May 2015
    Confuseus say.. Man who led down Garden Path, end up in Carrot Patch !! :-)
    Pass the Ductape
    1st Jun 2015
    Sometimes particlor, I worry about you.
    Wally 56
    27th Mar 2016
    I was phoned one Friday arvo by a Public Hospital Registrar and offered an "Open Prostatectomy" for a mere $26,000 ..... after he said "you know you haven't much time left and, are you still doctor shopping?" - all this because I requested a 2nd opinion after the needle biopsy showed 90% cancer in some core samples (Gleason score 7, of 3+4; PSA 19) - some 6 weeks before.

    My 2nd opinion (and I only went to the 2 Urologists in total) was a robot assisted "Da Vinci" procedure for which I had to wait a further 2 months for, as I only had public hospital cover.

    The robot assisted radical prostatectomy costed $Nil apart from 2 self funded Urologist appointments (some $350) and a $375 MRI prostate scan.

    Unfortunately the post op pathology showed a positve margin remaining (against rectum wall) so I am now considering radiation therapy as my post op PSA was 0.25 two months after op and still 0.20 three months after op (should be some 0.01 to 0.02).

    I'm also wondering if hormone therapy or maybe even HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) would be more suitable?

    I'm 59.
    10th Oct 2017
    I was treated with radiotherapy for P,C in 2008,, after about a year of zolodex hormone treatment. at time of radiotherapy commencing, I had a PSA of ( I think ) 7.4. As of july this year psa is down at 3.0 .
    Happy with professionalism of all involved, in particular my GP at Coolum Beach, the staff at Nambour Hospital ( where biopsy was undertaken) and Royal Brisbane Hospital where radiotherapy was delivered.
    The only pain throughout this whole saga was finding a car park at Royal Brisbane Hospital each day LOL
    My treatment (costing around $6000) went through the public health system so I was not out of pocket, and can only speak very highly of our health system.
    I received a lot of help from the Sunshine Coast branch of the Prostate cancer group - which provided support understanding and lots of information...
    The drawback of the treatment would have to be the zolodex treatment, which I believe impacted on my virility and caused a certain amount of ..ahhh . "shrinkage"... But Im still alive and that's the ultimate positive impact... Im now 67 years of age... and I guess nearing what would normally be an end to an active sex life anyway -- so I've missed nothing,.. but gained years of extra life.

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