Dr Joe O'Sullivan Explains Education of Patients and Physicians on Molecular Therapies

Physicians using molecular therapies need to be educated on where the therapies are best used during treatment, and patients need to understand that the radiation is safe for those around them, said Joe O'Sullivan, MD, FRCR, clinical professor, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast.

Physicians using molecular therapies need to be educated on where the therapies are best used during treatment, and patients need to understand that the radiation is safe for those around them, said Joe O'Sullivan, MD, FRCR, clinical professor, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Queen's University Belfast.

When using molecular therapies, is there a need for education among both patients and providers?

I think there is a need for education among the providers, first of all, in understanding where therapies like this should be best used. And they need to be used, if they’re used as a single agent, they need to be used at a time when the prostate cancer has not yet spread to visceral metastases—for example, liver or lung. So it needs to be bone only. And they also need to understand that a positive bone scan, a technetium bone scan, is required in order to say that, “this particular patient would benefit from this approach.” Because, if it’s not seen on a technetium scan, it’s unlikely that much radium will get into the bones.

Now, with regards to patient education, mostly it’s explaining to them what’s involved, making sure that they know there really is no radiation risk to anyone around them, because some patients worry about a radioactive treatment and that it might affect the people around them. Part of the education is reassuring them that this particular type of radiation is safe with other people.