Mental Health in Men Treated for Early Stage Prostate Carcinoma

A Posttreatment, Longitudinal Quality of Life Analysis from the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor

Published in: Cancer, v. 95, no. 1, July 1, 2002, p. 54-60

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2002

by Mark Litwin, Deborah P. Lubeck, G. Mark Spitalny, James M. Henning, Peter R. Carroll

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BACKGROUND: The current study was conducted to assess posttreatment changes in mental components of health related quality of life in prostate carcinoma patients during the two years following diagnosis and management with radical prostatectomy, pelvic irradiation, or watchful waiting. METHODS: The authors studied the mental domains of general health related quality of life in 452 men recently diagnosed with early stage prostate carcinoma and treated with radical prostatectomy, pelvic radiation, or watchful waiting. Outcomes were assessed with the RAND 36-Item Health Survey, a validated health- related quality of life instrument that includes four mental domains. To minimize the influence of potentially confounding factors, the authors adjusted for age, comorbidity, prostate specific antigen (PSA) at diagnosis, and biopsy Gleason score. All subjects were drawn from CaPSURE, a national, longitudinal cohort. RESULTS: By 6-12 months after treatment, the active treatment groups began to show differences in mental health and vitality. By 15 months, surgery and radiation patients scored differently in all four mental domains. Over time, the gaps between mental domain scores grew wider among the treatment groups, with surgery patients performing the best, radiation patients performing the worst, and watchful waiting patients falling in between. CONCLUSIONS: The mental health profiles differ for patients undergoing surgery, radiation, or watchful waiting for early stage prostate carcinoma. Men with more serious disease, as evidenced by higher PSA levels or more aggressive histology, tended to worry more about it. Older men performed better, while sicker men performed worse, even though the older men tended to be sicker.

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