Anxiety drives some treatment decisions

Nancy Ferrari

Senior editor, Harvard Health

Research confirms what many prostate cancer patients pursuing active surveillance know intuitively: Anxiety, not clinical symptoms and disease progression, may sway patients toward treatment. Among 105 men pursuing active surveillance as part of the nationwide observational CaPSURE trial, researchers found that regular screening visits and follow-up PSA measurements often evoke considerable anxiety. Wanting off the emotional roller coaster, 41% of men deemed at low risk for cancer progression opted for treatment — and the reduced quality of life that often follows — within three years of diagnosis. Type of insurance or more favorable coverage had little impact on treatment decisions. Additional patient education and anxiety management, the researchers suggest, might help patients with no signs or symptoms of worsening disease to further delay treatment.

Source: Latini DM, Hart SL, Knight SJ, et al. The Relationship Between Anxiety and Time to Treatment for Patients With Prostate Cancer on Surveillance. Journal of Urology 2007;178:826–32. PMID: 17632144.

Originally published Oct. 1, 2007; Last reviewed April 11, 2011

Comments:

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