Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether healthy men would prefer either luteinizing hormone releasing hormone analogues (LHRHa) or non-steroidal anti-androgen therapy (NSAA) should they hypothetically develop locally advanced prostate cancer.
Participants and methods: A representative sample of 180 men without prostate cancer (68% over 65 years of age, range 50–90 years), read two scenarios describing LHRHa or NSAA treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer. Participants chose which drug treatment they hypothetically would prefer, gave a reason for their choice and indicated the degree to which they wanted to avoid side effects specific to each drug.
Results: Eighty-six per cent (156/180) of the men chose NSAA therapy, 7% (12/180) chose LHRHa therapy and 7% (12/180) could not decide. The main reason men chose LHRHa therapy was because of the method of administration (9/12) whereas those who chose NSAA therapy cited avoidance of the side effects associated with LHRHa treatment (115/156). The side effects, ranked in order of importance, that men who chose NSAA therapy most wanted to avoid included risk of potential fractures (85%), reduced physical strength (76%), decreased sexual interest (56%), impotence (51%), hot flushes (49%), breast enlargement (17%) and breast tenderness (13%).
Conclusion: Although this project was a hypothetical study, several important issues emerged from the data that are relevant to patient choice. Men should be fully informed about the side-effect profiles of different endocrine treatments, involved in decision making and allowed to choose therapies less likely to cause side effects they would prefer to avoid.