OBJECTIVES - This study describes urologist recommendations for treatment among local-stage prostate cancer patients presenting for initial management consultations versus second opinions. We hypothesized that urologists present a wider range of management recommendations and are less likely to consider the patient preference during the initial consultation.
METHODS - Newly diagnosed local-stage prostate cancer patients and their urologists participated in a survey at urology practices in three states. The urologist's survey included questions about the patient's clinical status, treatments discussed and recommended, and factors that influenced the urologist's recommendations.
RESULTS - Of the 238 eligible patients, 95 men presented for an initial consultation, and 143 men presented for a second opinion. In multivariate analysis, urologists recommended 0.52 more treatments (standard error 0.19, P<0.001) during an initial consultation as opposed to a second opinion. The proportion recommending surgery increased from 71-91% (initial consultation versus second opinion setting). Among initial consultations, 59% had low-risk disease, and urologists' recommendations included surgery (80%), external radiation (38%), brachytherapy (seeds) (52%), and active surveillance (25%). Of the 54% with low-risk disease in a second opinion consultation, urologists' recommendations included surgery (90%), external radiation (16%), brachytherapy (14%), and active surveillance (16%).
CONCLUSIONS - In second opinion settings urologists discussed fewer treatment options and recommended surgery more often. These findings also applied to men with low-risk prostate cancer.