Prostate Cancer in Older Men

Dorothy A. Calabrese, MSN, RN, CURN, CNP


Urol Nurs. 2004;24(4) 

In This Article

Nursing Implications

There are many patient populations that struggle with decision-making issues following a medical diagnosis; patients with prostate cancer commonly fall into this category. There is not one treatment option that is the best for every patient. What is very important is that each patient understands what options are available for him, what the potential side effects of those options can be, and how he will need to deal with the side effects of the treatment. A urology nurse is in an ideal situation to help the patient and family through education, support, encouragement, and active listening. By performing these actions, the nurse will be able to help the patient become an educated consumer — one that makes the best treatment decision for a dreaded cancer.

The older patient has additional needs, such as sensory needs that should be addressed. For a patient to be able to make a decision, he needs to understand his options. If he cannot hear or see, it is more difficult to make informed choices. If he has memory problems (short or long term), the nurse may be asked to repeat the information or answer the same questions repeatedly as the patient tries to understand his diagnosis and options. In addition, this could represent a situation in which there is a question of whether or not the patient is competent to make treatment decisions. Identifying resources (written, tapes, and people) will help the patient arrive at a basic understanding of his disease and his treatment options. The nurse must help teach the patient about co-morbidities (lung, heart, and/or kidney disease) that may influence treatment options that are available. If the Ca P results in a terminal diagnosis, the nurse must help the patient and his family explore end-of-life (EOL) options (see the EOL manuscript by Paula Forest in this issue).


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