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Monday, November 24, 2014

Study Finds Video Tool Improves Health Literacy for Patients with Prostate Cancer

After identifying in earlier research that patients with prostate cancer had severe gaps in comprehension of basic prostate health terms, a team of researchers developed a video-based tool that they have found improved prostate health literacy. The research is published online ahead of print in the journal Cancer (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29101).


“[The research] shows that video tools can help patients understand these critical prostate health terms in a meaningful way,” senior author Viraj A. Master, MD, PhD, FACS, Winship urologist and Director of Clinical Research in the Department of Urology at Emory University, said in a news release.



Previous research has shown that both in patients in underserved areas, as well as patients attending specialty urology and radiation oncology clinics (the latter findings being research conducted by Master and his colleagues) misunderstanding of common prostate cancer terms was prevalent and severe, the authors noted in the study. Fewer than 50 percent of the men in the research from Master’s group understood the term “impotence,” 15 percent understood the term “incontinence,” and less than a third understood the term “urinary function” and “bowel habits.”


The researchers developed a video-based educational tool with narrated animations depicting 26 terms that doctors and medical staff routinely use in conversations with patients with prostate cancer. Fifty-six men from two low-income safety net clinics—six having been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer, five of whom had received treatment—viewed  the video tool and completed interviews with the researchers to evaluate their understanding of terms related to prostate cancer both before and after the intervention.


Patients’ comprehension of the terminology significantly improved for the majority of the terms, according to the researchers’ findings. Specifically:

·         Comprehension improved significantly for 13 of the 32 total terms tested—however many of the terms that did not exhibit significant improvements were very well understood even before the video intervention, the study noted;

·         Comprehension of the term “incontinence” improved from 14% understanding the term before the intervention to 50% afterward;

·         Comprehension of the term “urinary control” improved from 55% pre-intervention to 93% post-intervention;

·         Comprehension of “bowels” improved from 14% pre-intervention to 46% post-intervention;

·         Comprehension of “impotence” improved from 58% pre-intervention to 84% post-intervention; and

·         Understanding of the function of the prostate improved from 11% pre-intervention to 30% post-intervention.


This study is one of the first to examine the efficacy of a video-based educational tool with language specifically tailored to low-literacy populations in improving patient comprehension of key medical terminology related to prostate cancer treatment and the associated adverse effects, the study notes.


“The ultimate goal is to give patients a vocabulary toolkit to further enable them to make shared and informed decisions about their treatment options,” Master added.  “Our next goal is to improve the tool further, and study this tool at different centers.”