Distress Factors in Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer Patients

A study, published in the journal Psycho-Oncology, analyzed four different areas that could contribute to prostate cancer patient psychological distress. The researchers from New York's University of Buffalo, looked at factors like prognosis, individual beliefs, personality resources and demographics.  They gathered information through surveys, scales and questionnaires in order to see how the different factors affected newly diagnosed patients. The study included almost 1,500 men that were just diagnosed with localized prostate cancer.


By looking at things like age, the aggressiveness of the prostate cancer, or the possible trajectory of the tumor, the researchers could gauge the effect of each and its contribution to the distress of men with prostate cancer. What they found was that younger age, aggressive disease, and concern that the malignancy was uncontrollable or unmanageable caused the most distress. This included higher Gleason scores as well, which are an indication of more aggressive disease and potentially worse outcomes. Other things that the researchers found were that men with low confidence in their decision making as far as treatment, self-consciousness, and a lack of optimism also affected and drove distress in being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Some organizations like, The American Cancer Society, recommend screening - and this study is a testament to importance of this. By addressing these psychological and emotional factors in prostate cancer patients, they can get better and more well rounded care. Addressing both clinicopathological factors and psychological factors, physicians and clinicians can create plan of cares for newly diagnosed men that address concerns and allow them to get better care, faster. Finding the appropriate intervention for each patient not only individualizes care, but also addresses concerns which may be holding men back from getting treated.

This study highlights the importance of communication between doctors and patient, as well as treating disease as more than just a physical task. Better communication means more informed and confident decision making. This, of course, contributes to overall better satisfaction and confidence in care. Furthermore, this can reduce regret among patients, regardless of what treatment, if any they choose.  reduce patient's feelings of treatment regret, the researchers suggested.