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Research suggest therapy choice is influenced by physicians’ preferences
March 9th, 2010 Posted in Uncategorized New research shows that the kind of treatment received by prostate cancer patients often depends on the type of specialist providing the patient’s care.
U.S. researchers evaluated data on more than 85,000 Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 and olde. All of them were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1994 and 2002. Of those patients, 50 percent were seen only by urologists, 44 percent by urologists and radiation oncologists, 3 percent by urologists and medical oncologists, and 3 percent by all three specialists.
The researchers found a strong association between the type of treatment and the type of specialist consulted, according to a news release from the journal’s publisher.
According to the report published in the March 8 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, within nine months after diagnosis, 21 percent of patients had surgery to remove the prostate and surrounding tissue (radical prostatectomy), 42 percent had received radiation therapy, 17 percent underwent a hormone therapy called primary androgen deprivation and 20 percent chose no treatment (”watchful waiting”).
First there is the title which has nothing to do with the body of the piece. For those of you out there saying ,”I knew it, my urologist only wanted to cut, see, now it is in print. I knew I was right.” Read closer and first realize that all prostate cancer patients are diagnosed by a prostate biopsy that only urologists perform. So it all starts there. If only 21% had surgery and 100% were diagnosed by the urologist… well you do the math. Also the majority of patients were subsequently seen by the radiation oncologist, which means in the majority of instances and this is true in my practice, they were sent there by the urologist for another opinion, not a second opinion, another opinion or perspective. Read the title of this article again, then read the body of the text, and realize that ALL prostate cancers start with the urologist. This then reveals that the title is a proxy title to align itself with readers that want to see bias and subsequently read the article.
Now. Here is the dirty little secret. Sure there is bias. I have a surgical bias in a certain subset of patients. The point now however is that the details of the above do not support the title.