Men who have surgery for prostate cancer have excellent survival prospects – but nonetheless experience high levels of cancer anxiety that can lead to depression and reduced sexual satisfaction, Mayo Clinic researchers say.
Their study, published in the online edition of Psycho-Oncology, suggests that such patients could benefit from counseling to reduce cancer-related anxiety.
"The 10-year survival for a man undergoing surgery to remove localized prostate cancer is greater than 95 percent. Given that the majority of men who undergo prostatectomy for prostate cancer will not die from their disease, we are concerned about what life will be like for these patients decades after diagnosis and treatment," says the study's senior investigator, Alexander Parker, Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology and urology.
Parker said the study was the first to specifically show that those men with higher cancer-specific anxiety one year after surgery are more likely to report lower levels of satisfaction with their sex life and higher levels of depressive symptoms.
In the study, the Mayo Clinic researchers examined findings on 365 men who, one year after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, completed a questionnaire designed to measure anxiety levels about the fact they have been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. The men also completed additional questionnaires to measure levels of erectile function, sexual satisfaction and depression.
Parker’s co-author, Dr. Gregory Broderick, presented their results at the joint meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America and the International Society for Sexual Medicine in Chicago. To read their paper, click here.