NEW YORKWhen cancer patients go to the Internet for
information on their disease, they are often overwhelmed by the
thousands of sources available. The new Prostate Cancer Treatment
Guidelines for Patients, issued jointly by the American Cancer
Society (ACS) and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN),
is an attempt to give patients a structure for processing
information, said Rodger Winn, MD, of M.D. Anderson Cancer
Center and a key player in the NCCN guidelines development. The NCCN
is an alliance of 17 of the nations leading cancer centers.
The prostate cancer patient guidelines follow the breast cancer
patient guidelines introduced by the two organizations last March.
Both are a user-friendly, understandable version of the
NCCNs guidelines for physicians, William T. McGivney, PhD, CEO
of the NCCN, said at a teleconference to introduce the prostate
LaMar McGinnis, Jr., MD, past president of the American Cancer
Society and clinical professor of surgery, Emory University, said
that when a patient learns of a cancer diagnosis, the big C
word blots out most of the retention of information given by the
physician. Its estimated that patients retain only 20% of the
information given at that time.
Once over the initial shock, patients seek information from a variety
of sources. We wanted to bring together one focused treatment
guideline that prostate cancer patients could have in hand or online
to refer to, to help them make a treatment decision with their health
care provider, Dr. McGinnis said.
Rather than develop their own guidelines, the ACS decided to supply
guidelines from other sources, adapted for patients. The NCCN
guidelines were the first that weve chosen for this, he said.
The guidelines are written at the 12th grade level, Dr. McGinnis
said, adding that the ACS has other prostate cancer information
written at lower reading levels. Although the guidelines are
available on the Internet (see box), we feel they are best used
if the patient has the printed version in hand, he said.
To Obtain the Prostate Cancer Patient Guidelines
The Prostate Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients are available