Cognitive and Psychological Impacts of Different Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer: A Critical Analysis

Article Abstract: Current Urology, December 2020

Yiannopoulou K.G., Anastasiou A.I., Kontoangelos K., Papageorgiou C., Anastasiou I.P.

DOI: 10.1159/000499242

Objectives: Psychological morbidity as well as cognitive impairment are increasingly reported in prostate cancer patients. However, despite growing numbers of prostate cancer survivors and the well estimated negative impact of cognitive decline and emotional distress on survivors’ quality of life, no study has assessed the whole range of cognitive and psychological sequelae as a response to treatment options for prostate cancer. The objective of the present review was to systematically characterize the types and estimate the prevalence of the cognitive impairment and emotional burdens that were found in prostate cancer survivors secondary to different treatment options.

Methods: Systematic, general reviews, meta-analysis, and overviews of review studies in English, that were published in PubMed during the last 10 years until l August 2019 and that reported psychological distress, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, or dementia among individuals with prostate cancer exposed to a particular treatment option were analyzed.

Results: A total of 21 articles were reviewed. Some of the studies described one or more cognitive or psychological consequences of only one therapeutic strategy while others compared the psychological impacts among different strategies. Most of these studies suggested that either radical prostatectomy or active surveillance and radiotherapy were well-tolerated treatments in terms of psychological modifications. However, many of these patients may require additional emotional support. There is also increasing evidence that androgen deprivation therapy may be associated with depression, while controversy surrounding the association between cognitive dysfunction, dementia, and androgen deprivation therapy remains ambivalent.

Conclusion: Emotional distress and cognitive decline may accompany every prostate cancer treatment option to different degrees. Accurate information on the short- and long-term effect of treatments on cognitive and psychological aspects should be provided to patients during treatment decision-making. There is also a need to develop well-targeted psychological and neurological interventions that could help those experiencing ongoing post-treatment difficulties.”

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