Men who treat their prostate cancer with surgery often suffer from anxiety which, in turn, is linked with depression and sexual dissatisfaction.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic studied 365 men who had prostatectomies and gave them surveys a year after their procedures. They found that men who had the procedure at a younger age were more likely to suffer from cancer-specific anxiety. The anxiety was also more prevalent in men who were not Caucasian. Though the anxious men were not more likely to report erectile dysfunction, they were more likely to report sexual dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms.
Doctors were surprised by the findings because prostate cancer can be one of the least lethal forms of cancer. It is said that most men who receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer will not die from the disease. In men who receive a prostatectomy, their 10-year survival rate is a whopping 95 percent. And yet, despite the overwhelming odds in their favor, many men think about cancer every single day.
Their findings suggest that some men receiving the procedure would benefit from counseling that addresses their concerns. Researchers point out that, in these men, they are more concerned about the quality of their lives rather than the quantity of their years.
Doctors see prostate cancer as extremely important because it is the most common cancer in men. In 2008, the last year for which such information is available, around 214,600 men were diagnosed with the disease; about 28,500 died from it. Though some forms of the cancer are extremely dangerous, most forms are slow-moving and relatively harmless, which is why there is such contentious debate surrounding both prostate cancer screening and surgery.
The Mayo Clinic already offers psychological counseling to cancer patients.
The study's findings were published in Psycho-Oncology. Researchers presented their findings at the joint meeting of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America and the International Society for Sexual Medicine over the summer in Chicago.