Objective: To examine the psychological and social adjustment of men with early or advanced stage prostate cancer and to compare them with a matched group of cancer-free community volunteers. Methods: A longitudinal observational study in which 367 men recently diagnosed with early (n = 211) or advanced stage (n = 156) prostate cancer were compared to 169 cancer-free men from the community, of similar age and residential area, using self-report measures of psychosocial adjustment. Results: On the mental health subscales of the Short-Form 36-item Health Survey, men with advanced disease had lower vitality and social functioning than the other two groups, and lower mental health scores than the comparison group. Both patient groups had lower role-emotional scores than the comparison group. With regard to the Brief Symptom Inventory, the advanced disease group had higher somatization scores, and lower interpersonal sensitivity and paranoid ideation scores than the early stage group and the community comparison group. In terms of psychiatric morbidity, there were higher rates of anxiety disorders but not depressive disorders in both patient groups although overall diagnosis rates were low. No differences were found in terms of couple or family functioning. Conclusions: There is impairment in psychosocial function in men with prostate cancer, particularly those with advanced disease, but no increase in the rate of formal psychiatric disorder or adverse effects on the couples and families. This suggests directions for psychosocial interventions with these patient groups.
- Prostate cancer