The hidden mental cost of prostate cancer
Depression, anxiety and an increased risk of suicide are among the hidden costs of a prostate cancer diagnosis according to research that was presented at an international conference in Sydney.
Professor Suzanne Chambers, a Griffith Health Institute researcher in the Australian and New Zealand Urogenital and Prostate Cancer Trials Group (ANZUP), will join a team of Australian and international experts to discuss a groundbreaking new Australian study aimed at empowering prostate cancer patients to adjust to their diagnosis and treatment.
Professor Chambers said the psychological care of men living with prostate cancer was a critical health issue, as around 20,000 Australian men were diagnosed with the disease each year.
“The diagnosis of prostate cancer is for most men and their families a major life stress. Men worry about what the cancer means to their future and there are a wide range of treatment effects, that affect quality of life, daily living , and intimate relationships.” she said. “With so many Australian men living with prostate cancer, estimated to be around 120,000, this is a serious concern.”
Professor Chambers is working with ANZUP, Griffith University, Cancer Council Queensland and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and on a unique clinical trial aimed at finding effective ways to assist men in adjusting to advanced prostate cancer, where the challenges are even greater.
The team have developed a customised program for patients, which aims to reduce stress levels through meditation, peer support and increased self-awareness. It will involve 190 men in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia to determine whether the program reduces psychological distress and improves their quality of life.
“We think the scope and methodology of the trial will provide a clear indication of whether these approaches are effective in reducing the psychological distress that comes with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer,” Professor Chambers said.
For more information on prostate cancer, including diagnoses, types of treatments, and some useful tools, videos and animations, see Prostate Cancer.
Article Date: 21/7/2012
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