The psychological impact of anal cancer screening on HIV-infected men

Authors

  • Jodie M. B. Landstra,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    2. HIV, Hepatitis C and Mental Health, St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia
    • School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Joseph Ciarrochi,

    1. School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Frank Patrick Deane,

    1. School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    2. Illawarra Institute for Mental Health, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
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  • Leon P. Botes,

    1. STI Research Centre, University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW, Australia
    2. Centre for Applied Medical Research, St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia
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  • Richard J. Hillman

    1. STI Research Centre, University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW, Australia
    2. Centre for Applied Medical Research, St Vincent's Hospital, Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia
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  • Data were presented previously in a poster at the 22nd Australasian Sexual Health Conference, Sydney, Australia, 18 October 2010, and by oral presentation at the 26th International Papillomavirus Conference, Montreal, Canada, presentation 238, 5 July 2010.

Correspondence to: H2M Level 4 O'Brien Building, St Vincent's Hospital, Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010 Australia. E-mail: jodielandstra@gmail.com

Abstract

Background

Anal cancer rates are increasing in HIV-infected men. Screening programmes similar to prostate and cervical cancer have been recommended to reduce morbidity and mortality. Research shows that screening processes have psychological consequences that need to be considered. Limited investigation of the psychological impact of anal cancer screening has been conducted.

Methods

A prospective longitudinal survey of 291 men was conducted at three time points over 14 weeks at a public HIV clinic in Sydney, Australia. Self-report questionnaires measuring worry, distress, depression, anxiety, stress and health-related quality of life (SF-12) were collected.

Results

Those who had a biopsy recommended were significantly more worried about anal cancer, rated their anal health worse and were less optimistic about their future health than the control group who needed no further medical investigation. The group receiving high grade histology results remained worried about anal cancer at time 3. We found no evidence that general anxiety, depression or quality of life was significantly affected by the process.

Conclusions

Anal cancer specific worry increases throughout the screening process. Clear communication prior to procedures about the procedure itself, potential adverse events, the recovery process and non-technical explanations of results should be implemented in anal screening programmes.Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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