Re: Public Perceptions of the Harms and Benefits of Testicular Cancer Education: A Qualitative Study

Re: Public Perceptions of the Harms and Benefits of Testicular Cancer Education: A Qualitative Study

UROLOGICAL ONCOLOGY: TESTIS CANCER 147 considered in stage II penile cases but I am not surprised that the actual performance of node dissection is ...

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UROLOGICAL ONCOLOGY: TESTIS CANCER

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considered in stage II penile cases but I am not surprised that the actual performance of node dissection is low, considering the NCI PDQ recommendation. David P. Wood, M.D.

Urological Oncology: Testis Cancer Re: Public Perceptions of the Harms and Benefits of Testicular Cancer Education: A Qualitative Study R. E. Evans, A. E. Simon and J. Wardle Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom Cancer Epidemiol 2010; 34: 212–219.

Background: The value of testicular cancer (TC) education, and in particular advice on testicular self-examination (TSE), has been widely debated by health professionals. One concern centres on its potential to cause unnecessary anxiety among the target population. Views outside the health professional community about TC education’s potential benefits and harms have not previously been described. The objective of this study was to investigate the range of views expressed by specific groups thought to have an interest in provision of TC education. Methods: One-to-one, in-depth interviews with 37 men and women were completed. Participants included TC patients, men with no prior diagnosis of TC, and parents and teachers of adolescent boys. Verbatim transcripts were analysed using the Framework approach to produce a thematic description of views expressed. Results: Participants were unanimously in favour of TC education. Key perceived benefits included earlier cancer detection through increasing knowledge of symptoms leading to better treatment outcomes, and motivating help-seeking by reducing emotional barriers such as fear of cancer or embarrassment. Anxiety was acknowledged as a possible harm but was not expected to be widespread or serious. Conclusion: TC education is viewed favourably by members of the public likely to be interested in its provision. Education’s potential to cause anxiety was not considered a disincentive to promoting disease awareness. Editorial Comment: A variety of educational programs have been launched at national and local levels in the United Kingdom and elsewhere to increase awareness of testicular cancer. Primary concerns have been lack of epidemiological evidence demonstrating the benefit of early detection and the potential for cancer related information to cause anxiety. In-depth interviews were completed in patients with testicular cancer, men with no prior diagnosis of testicular cancer, and parents and teachers of adolescent boys. Although anxiety was considered a possible harm, it was not expected to be serious. The authors conclude that education in testicular cancer is generally viewed favorably by members of the public. Jerome P. Richie, M.D.