Active surveillance is psychologically difficult, study finds

Active surveillance – monitoring rather than treating prostate cancer after diagnosis – may put a significant psychological burden on men with prostate cancer, according to a study by one of Europa Uomo’s members, the Danish prostate cancer patients’ organisation PROPA.

PROPA surveyed members who were currently under active surveillance (AS), asking them how worried they were under AS. Out of a response of 191, 4% said they were seriously worried, 33% said they were somewhat worried, and 41% said they were a little worried. Nearly a third said they had regrets about delaying treatment.

The study also found that there was strain on spouses and relationships. Sixty one per cent of respondents said that their sex-life were being influenced.

Niels Einer-Jensen of PROPA points out that this patient view contrasts with data presented by urologists and psychologists, which suggests that AS has little adverse impact on psychological wellbeing. “The impact is not negligible and stronger than expected,” he says.

“The medical profession should take the potential psychological load more into account during counselling,” he says. “A bigger investigation of the load and the reason for the discrepancies between this investigation and previous studies should be initiated.”

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