Mental Distress Is a Common Post-Treatment Occurrence in Radical Prostatectomy Patients

By Emily Menendez - May 18, 2023

Mental Health Awareness Month is a national movement that takes place every year during the month of May, with the aim to fight stigma and provide support for those affected by mental illness.

Patients with prostate cancer are often at an increased risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stigma, which may negatively affect disease outcomes. A team of researchers from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, examined the likelihood of mental distress in patients with prostate cancer who have undergone radical prostatectomy (RP). Patients who undergo RP are 4 times more likely to experience depressive symptoms than patients with healthy counterparts due to side effects that can occur post-RP, including urinary, sexual, and bowel dysfunction.

The research team utilized data from a Maritimes-Canada online survey that assessed the patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes of 136 men who underwent RP for prostate cancer between 2017 and 2019. The primary outcome of the study was a validated assessment of mental health symptoms using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale. The International Prostate Symptom Score was used to assess urinary function, and the Dyadic Adjustment Scale was used to assess relationship satisfaction.

A multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the total measurements of urinary function, relationship satisfaction, age, multimorbidity, additional treatments, medication for depression and/or anxiety, and survivorship time in patients. A total of 16.2% of patients with prostate cancer who had undergone RP screened positive for mental distress. Increased age, relationship satisfaction, and current medication for anxiety and/or depression were protective factors.

Survivorship time, the presence of additional comorbidities, or prostate cancer treatments were not seen as statistically significant contributions to the study model. Research results show that RP survivors are prone to presenting with increased mental distress long after RP treatment, and physician screening for mental distress during RP survivorship is recommended.