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Psychological distress stronger among young prostate cancer patients

12 Nov 2019
Blue prostate cancer awareness ribbon

Younger men with prostate cancer tend to experience greater psychological distress, a new study has found.

The study included 233 men (mean age, 60±4.20 years) who were newly diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. Patients were assessed for their sociodemographic factors, domain-specific and health-related quality of life (QoL), and psychological distress. Measurements were collected at baseline, at 6 weeks, and at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery.

More than a quarter (28 percent) of patients reported that they were psychologically distressed at baseline, before undergoing surgery. This proportion decreased slightly over time, reaching 21 percent by 24 months. Average distress trajectories remained generally stable over this time frame (p<0.24), though slope was negative, suggesting a temporally downward trend.

Individual slopes, in comparison, varied significantly (p<0.001). In particular, between 27 percent and 40 percent of the participants experienced an increase in distress. This tended to happen in those who were younger at recruitment (p<0.01), who had lower bowel QoL (p<0.01) and who had more comorbidities (p=0.03).

Mental health QoL remained stable over time (p=0.47). The opposite was true for physical health QoL, which significantly declined over time (p<0.01). In both cases, slopes did not differ among patients. Both measures were also positively correlated with urinary, bowel and sexual QoL scores.

The present findings support “the overarching principle that psychosocial care for men needs to focus more broadly than the more common surgical side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and subsequent sexual concerns,” said researchers.

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