For GPs

Four Corners Show Highlights Need For Informed Treatment Options

31 May 2018

The Four Corners ‘Mind the Gap’ show has once again highlighted the need for prostate cancer patients to be aware and informed of radiation therapy as a potential treatment option, Targeting Cancer Clinical Lead  A/Prof Sandra Turner says.

The ABC TV show,  which was broadcast this week, featured the case of a prostate cancer patient who was left thousands of dollars out of pocket after undergoing robotic surgery and faced side effects after his treatment.

He was not informed by his surgeon prior to treatment that radiation therapy could have been a curative treatment option for his condition.

A/Prof Turner said this case underlined how the current referral system did not constitute the best standards of care for prostate cancer patients.

RANZCR’s statement on the informed management of prostate cancer will be released shortly.

“Radiation therapy is equally likely to cure prostate cancer as surgery, may have less urinary and sexual function side effects and result in less out of pocket costs to the patient,” A/Prof Turner said. “It is very commonly a suitable alternative to surgery and is sometimes the most appropriate treatment option for men with prostate cancer.

“Men should be given information about all treatments, so they can decide what’s right for them as an individual.

“The Targeting Cancer campaign is about promoting radiation therapy as a safe and effective curative treatment option for many cancer types. Hopefully, the issues raised by Four Corners will help lead to a greater understanding and awareness of this treatment, especially in the case of prostate cancer.”

Targeting Cancer is an initiative of the Faculty of Radiation Oncology with The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR).

RANZCR is shortly releasing a position statement emphasising the need for men to fully understand all treatment options available to them. This means talking to both types of prostate experts – a radiation oncologist as well as a urologist – before deciding on their preferred treatment option.

“Making a clear statement about the best evidence-based model of care for these men aims to encourage a collaborative effort from the Australian health community to ensure informed decision making takes place in this disease,” A/Prof Turner said.  “It’s not about saying one treatment is better than the other – it’s about empowering men with prostate cancer approaching a decision about active treatment to be central to this process.

“Men deserve to be fully supported to ensure they make choices that are right for them.”

For more information on how radiation therapy can help treat cancer, click here.