Anxiety and depression symptoms in adult males in Atlantic Canada with or without a lifetime history of prostate cancer

Journal article extract: Psycho-Oncology October 2019

Gabriela Ilie, Robert Rutledge, Ellen Sweeney

DOI 10.1002/pon.5244

“The findings of the current study add significantly to the understanding of the relationship between prostate cancer and mental health. Unlike other segments of the population, survivors of prostate cancer are faced with several possible side effects of treatment that go to the heart of their identity as men, including erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, bowel issues, or feeling disconnected in their relationship due to lack of sexual function. Therefore, for mental health interventions to be successful, future interventions may need to focus on identifying those survivorship needs that lead to mental health issues and address them through patient education and/or empowerment programs offered early in the survivorship journey in order to successfully control and prevent the development of mental health issues. Clinicians know assessing survivors’ direct oncological outcomes (e.g., urinary, bowel and sexual function) is critical to addressing physical health, but may not be aware that mental health issues and survivorship needs are also critical for identifying men at risk of poor oncological and quality of life outcomes. We consider that screening and treating anxiety and depression during prostate cancer survivorship is a key priority for prostate cancer clinical oncology teams in order to insure oncological outcomes are not negatively affected by the onset of mental health issues among survivors and their persistence during the cancer journey. This research points out the vulnerability of prostate cancer survivors compared with that of survivors of other forms of cancer. The findings of this research, coupled with a growing emphasis on cancer survivorship, highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary effort to prioritize and deliver comprehensive mental health support to both patients and survivors of prostate cancer.”

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