Mental Health of Low Income Uninsured Men with Prostate Cancer

Published in: The Journal of Urology, v. 173, no. 4, Apr. 2005, p. 1323-1326

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by John L. Gore, Tracey L. Krupski, Lorna Kwan, Arlene Fink, Mark Litwin

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PURPOSE: The authors evaluated mental health outcomes in a cohort of low income, uninsured men with prostate cancer and identified factors that influence mental health. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The authors performed a retrospective cohort study of 277 subjects enrolled in a program that provides free care to men with prostate cancer who have an annual income of no more than 200% of the federal poverty level. They compared scores on the 5-item RAND Mental Health Inventory (MHI-5) to those in individuals with other chronic diseases. They also examined the relationship between MHI-5 scores and validated measures of general and disease specific health related quality of life. Disease specific quality of life included measures of distress related to urinary, sexual and bowel habits. Multivariate analyses were performed to evaluate factors associated with mental health score. RESULTS: Most men studied were Hispanic (51.6%) and had at most a high school education (85.9%). Mean MHI-5 score +/- SD was 68 +/- 23 on a 100-point scale, significantly worse than cohorts of men with diabetes, congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease. Hispanic ethnicity, urinary bother and bowel bother were negatively associated with mental health. Spirituality and physical functioning were positively associated with mental health. CONCLUSIONS: Economically disadvantaged men with prostate cancer report worse mental health than people with other chronic diseases. Patients especially at risk are those with significant urinary or bowel distress, poor physical health, low spirituality and Hispanic ethnicity.

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