Anxiety often kept at bay in men with early-stage prostate cancer

Aug 27, 2009

Elevated anxiety and distress levels don?t appear to be present in men with early stages of prostate cancer who wait to pursue radical treatment and instead opt for expectant management, a recently published study has found.

Elevated anxiety and distress levels don’t appear to be present in men with early stages of prostate cancer who wait to pursue radical treatment and instead opt for expectant management, a recently published study has found.

The finding may indicate that awareness that a patient has early prostate cancer may not necessarily negatively impact his life.

Researchers, led by Roderick van den Bergh, MD, of the Erasmus Medical Center, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, measured anxiety and distress levels in men who had been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and who were under active surveillance. A total of 150 men received questionnaires to determine the number who were unsure whether to go on to radical treatment, as well as whether depression and anxiety were present in these men. Of the 129 respondents, more than 80% had low (favorable) scores on the measures.

The men who tended to show more anxiety and distress than others often were those who had neurotic personalities or were experiencing poor physical health.

Based on the findings, Dr. van den Bergh recommended that longer-duration analyses be performed on the psychological effects of active surveillance in men with early prostate cancer.

Results of the study appeared online in Cancer (July 27, 2009).