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Keywords:

  • early prostate cancer;
  • diagnosis;
  • mental health;
  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • psychopathology

Objective  To determine the level of psychopathology, traumatic distress and quality of life in men with newly diagnosed clinically localized prostate cancer, the effect on these of a consultation in a combined-specialist early-prostate clinic, and predictors of psychopathology.

Patients and methods  Eighty-eight patients were recruited from the combined clinic; they completed a battery of questionnaires including the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the revised Impact of Event Scale (IES) and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire, before their first appointment. Two weeks later they completed the HADS, IES and a patient-satisfaction survey.

Results  The overall level of psychopathology varied among the questionnaires used, from 0% on the HADS depression scale, 8% on the HADS anxiety scale and 14% on the IES. Anxiety and traumatic stress symptoms were commoner than depressive symptoms. The quality-of-life scores showed a relatively good level of functioning. Pre-morbid factors and disease status did not predict psychological distress. Younger age was mildly predictive of poorer psychological functioning. Anxiety symptoms reduced slightly after a joint clinic appointment, whereas depressive symptoms showed a slight increase.

Conclusion  This study suggests that men with early localized prostate cancer have low levels of psychopathology overall. However, some men experience distressing psychological symptoms and it is important that future research is conducted to help develop clear guidelines on the optimal methods of detecting and managing men with prostate cancer who have mental health difficulties.