Prostate research ‘EMPOWERS’ patients


Prostate cancer patients at Epworth Freemasons are given simple language reports on scans, in a study aiming to give them better understanding about their condition and a greater say in their treatment.

The move is part of the EMPOWER research study being undertaken by the E.J. Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre at Epworth.

Half of the men who undergo a type of X-ray known as a PSMA PET/CT scan, will be given a standard report from the radiographer, as well as a patient-focused report, written in plain language. The other half will be given a standard radiographer report and a follow up with their doctor to discuss the results.

Professor Nathan Lawrentschuk, Director of the E.J. Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre at Epworth said the study aims to evaluate the benefits of giving patients plain language reports on their PET/CT scan.

“Reports from the radiographer are usually written for the referring specialist, GPs, researchers, nurses instead of the patient,” Prof Lawrentschuk said.

“It often leads to patients having to consult Dr Google to understand what the complex reports mean.”

“The EMPOWER study explores whether a patient-focussed report in simple language can improve a patient’s experience and understanding of their diagnosis, as well as empower them to play a greater role in the decision making of their treatment, in consultation with their specialist.”

If the research shows benefits in providing patients with detailed, plain language PET/CT scan reports, it could be expanded to other areas, including other radiology reports and pathology reports.

The study has been funded by the E.J. Whitten Prostate Cancer Research Centre at Epworth and Epworth Medical Foundation.

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