Psychological Care for Men with Prostate Cancer

“72% of men impacted by prostate cancer related mental health issues will not seek help.”

This website is for health professionals involved in diagnosing, treating, and caring for men with prostate cancer. It promotes the use of the Facing the Tiger Psychological Care Approach developed by Professor Suzanne Chambers, AO and colleagues as an essential part of prostate cancer survivorship.

Worldwide there are millions of men living with a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Their survival rates are high because of medical advances, but quality of life in survivorship is reported by far too many men as poor.

Being a prostate cancer survivor brings many men and their partners a level of psychological distress that compromises both their mental and physical health. Many men will walk out of their urologist’s rooms after a diagnosis of prostate cancer into a world of private hurt and hopelessness. Lost, confused, with a head full of statistics, they will strive to cope with a major life stress that cuts to the very core of their beliefs about themselves and their place in the world. Some will find it harder than others — too many in fact. Compared with men in the general population, men with prostate cancer are twice as likely to experience depression and three times more likely to experience anxiety. The risk of suicide for these men is greatest within the first year after diagnosis.

That’s a tragedy. But it’s also not good medicine. Such significant levels of psychological distress harm a man’s ability to navigate the complex treatment journey required for prostate cancer survivorship. It can compromise their physical health, their decision-making, and their ability to effectively use patient support networks, including those most commonly referred by their medical team.

Psychological support for men after a diagnosis of prostate cancer and through their treatment journey is as vital as the drugs, surgery and other medical treatments that save their lives. Not only will such support ease considerable suffering for men and their families, it will also result in better treatment and better patient outcomes. We need to act now, globally.

The Facing the Tiger Psychological Care Approach emphasises the use of the Australian-developed Psychosocial Care Model for Men with Prostate Cancer and the Prostate Cancer Survivorship Essentials Framework.

“My passion is health care: health outcomes drive and direct the quality of life of individuals and their families, as well as the health and vitality of the communities in which we live.”

— Professor Suzanne Chambers AO