Most men living in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States feel that they are well-informed about lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
The study, “Understanding patient and physician perceptions of benign prostatic hyperplasia in Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Commonwealth of Independent States: the Prostate Research on Behaviour and Education (PROBE) II survey,” was published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
Research shows that it is important to consider patients’ perceptions and preferences when choosing treatment for LUTS and BPH. Studies in other parts of the world, including the U.S. and Europe, show that attitudes of patients and physicians tend to differ.
To get a better picture of how men in Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS; Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan in this study) perceive their disease, researcher from GlaxoSmithKline recruited 1,094 men who had self-reported BPH or prostate problems and who were taking medication for their condition.
The study, called PROBE II, also recruited 202 physicians. All participants completed questionnaires, which differed between patients and physicians.
The study showed that 61 percent of patients felt very or fairly well informed about BPH-related health problems. A group making up 19 percent of patients felt little or not at all informed.
While almost equally many physicians believed their patients were well informed, a large group, 39 percent, also believed that their patients were not very informed.
The numbers varied by countries and regions, with patients in Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine feeling least informed, and Australians most likely to feel well-informed.
Most patients discovered they had BPH when reporting symptoms rather than in routine examinations. Most patients, 69 percent, consulted a doctor once they discovered BPH symptoms after waiting for an average of three weeks. Nearly one-fifth of patients said they felt embarrassed to talk about their condition.
More than two-thirds of physicians surveyed, on the other hand, felt that it would be valuable to raise awareness of BPH and LUTS, and to encourage men to seek care when noticing symptoms.
Patients had consulted specialist doctors in 80 percent of cases, with men from the CIS most likely to do so. But men in Asia Pacific, excluding Australia, were more likely to consult internet chat, social or church groups, or telephone help lines.
Most patients reported in the survey that specialist doctors were more helpful than family physicians, and 45 percent also said it was extremely or very helpful to speak to their spouse or partner.
About a quarter of patients said the condition had a major impact on their quality of life. Physicians were often less likely than patients to rate any specific symptom as severe.
As many as 69 percent of patients in the survey were satisfied with the treatment offered, with the largest satisfaction among patients treated with alpha-blockers and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, either alone or in combination. Also, physicians showed the most satisfaction with the two drugs, and more than half mentioned that they thought treatment adherence to be extremely important.
The survey found that patients were willing to wait for a long time for symptoms to get better to avoid the risk of surgery. Most physicians also noted that patients were very concerned about surgery, and 72 percent mentioned that patients were concerned about acute urinary retention.