A new study has identified beliefs and personality traits that are associated with higher levels of distress in newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients.
Factors associated with greater distress included a lack of confidence in deciding how to treat the cancer; being concerned that the cancer will progress; feeling that one’s masculinity was under treat; and tendencies to be less optimistic and resilient.
Other studies have examined distress in prostate cancer patients after treatment, but there are few studies that have assessed distress in men early in diagnosis, before receiving treatment.
This study provides a stronger empirical basis for designing or selecting interventions for these men.
Results of the study are from a larger longitudinal study of prostate cancer patients. The research was based on assessments of 1,425 men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer at five different centers.
In order for doctors to provide the correct support to patients they need a better understanding of what causes distress in these types of patients.
Urologists have to find better ways to assist men and their families after a prostate cancer diagnosis, which can be a difficult time for many. This study brings urologists one step closer to being able to do so.
A second set of analyses from the same study revealed that emotional distress may motivate men diagnosed with prostate cancer to choose surgery.
Greater distress was associated with choosing more aggressive treatment in men with lower-risk disease among those with potentially low-risk cancer. These are men for whom active surveillance may be a viable option. Ideally, prostate cancer patients’ treatment decisions will reflect an accurate understanding of treatment options, assess treatment outcomes and chances of recovery and also include personal preferences.
Results of this study strongly support managing emotional distress in all prostate cancer patients.