PhD student, Monash University
Comparing telehpone, postal and email methods for collecting PROMs in Prostate Cancer Patients
Prostate is a small gland which lies below the bladder only in men. In 2012 globally an estimated 1.1 million men worldwide were diagnosed with prostate cancer which constitutes 15% of the total cancer in men and majority of cases were diagnosed in developed countries. In Australia most common cancer among men after skin cancer. In Australia there are about 17,000 new cases every year. In Australia one in five men are at risk of developing prostate cancer before the age of 85. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, with the majority of cases diagnosed in men aged 60–79 years of age
Early prostate cancer rarely produces symptoms. In advanced stage of prostate cancer symptoms may include unexplained weight loss, feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate, or pain in the lower back/pelvic area or sciatica. Older age, family members like father or brother had prostate cancer and strong family history of ovarian and breast cancer are high risk of developing cancer. Two commonly used tests are the PSA blood test and the digital rectal examination. However these tests, used separately or in combination, can only indicate changes in the prostate gland. Biopsy can confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment depends on whether the tumor is localised or locally in advance stage or advanced/spread to other organs at diagnosis. Surgery, radiotherapy, watchful waiting, androgen hormone deprivation and chemotherapy are different treatment options depending on the stages of the cancer.
Follow up methods for collecting patient reported outcomes measures for managing side effects is crucial for better outcomes of treatment and quality of life. But the costs of data collection is very high. So, in my study I tested three different methods like telephone, postal and email methods to collect follow up data.
I found email method require less time compare to other two methods but problem is only 73% of the patients used email. So considering costs my recommendation is to adopt targeted approach like email those who have email address and if not then telephone method.