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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Family Practice 1/2014

The value of prostate cancer support groups: a pilot study of primary physicians’ perspectives

BMC Family Practice > Ausgabe 1/2014
Bernard M Garrett, John L Oliffe, Joan L Bottorff, Michael McKenzie, Christina S Han, John S Ogrodniczuk
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2296-15-56) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

The study presented here was carried out in collaboration between all authors. JLO, JLB and MM contributed substantially to the conception and design of the study. JLO, JB, MM, BG and CSH carried out the participant recruitment and data collection. JLB, JSO, JLO and JB were involved in the data interpretation. BG, JLO and CSH drafted the initial manuscript, and JB, MM and JSO were involved in revising and providing substantial content and revisiting data analysis in the later phase of the manuscript production. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



In Canada, prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common male cancer, and prostate cancer support groups (PCSGs) have prevailed for more than 20 years providing support to men with PCa and their families. While the format, focus and benefits of attending PCSGs have been reported little is known about primary physicians’ (PPs) perceptions of these groups. This article describes Canadian primary physicians’ views about face-to-face and web-based PCSGs.


Canadian based primary physicians (n = 140) attending a 2012 Continuing Medical Education Conference participated in a pilot survey questionnaire study. The 56-item questionnaire used in this study included six sets of attitudinal items to measure primary physicians’ beliefs about positive and negative influences of PCSGs, reasons for attending PCSGs, the attributes of effective PCSGs, and the value of face-to-face and web-based PCSGs.


Results showed that PCSGs were positively valued, particularly for information sharing, education and psychosocial support. Poor inclusivity, privacy, and accessibility were identified as potential barriers, and recommendations were made for better marketing and web-based PCSGs to increase engagement with potential attendees.


Findings suggest PPs highly valued the role and potential benefits of PCSGs. Information provision and an educational role were perceived as key benefits amid the need to improve local and provincial marketing of PCSGs. The potential for web-based PCSGs to help in the support of PCa patients was also recognized.
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