Psychological Consequences

Dra. Tania Estapé

Fundación FEFOC

May 5, 2019

Cancer diagnosis is a stressful event in anyone’s life, associated with various difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, fear (recurrence, uncertainty about the future …), as well as physical problems related to the effects of treatment. In the case of prostate cancer there is a high probability that the treatment significantly affects quality of life of patients (incontinence, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction), but also others, such as the loss of libido, gastrointestinal effects, mood disorders.

The psychological impact due to prostate cancer adds, then, two aspects: those associated with cancer in general, and the specific related to the location and necessary treatment:- Regarding the psychological impact of cancer, these are due to the usual attitude of people who attribute a meaning to death, stigma and uncertainty, cancer causes and cure. Most frequent disorders are anxiety and depression.

There may also be periods of insomnia, anorexia and the interruption of daily activities, as well persistent for the possibility of relapse.- Regarding prostate cancer, due to the effects of treatment, it can mean a threat due to the perception of men, damage to self-image and masculinity to.

This can seriously affect relationships and self esteem. Possible problems such as incontinence and sexual impotence can harm patients. Men can feel embarrassment and discomfort. If they are still in active working activity, they may have functional difficulties at work, for example, having to urinate frequently, with everything that implies, added to the fear that co-workers will realize this. If they are retired, they perhaps feel useless and prostate cancer adds more feelings of discomfort and affects self-steem.

On the other hand, the possibility of choosing between different treatment options: the possibility of more than one therapeutic strategy (medical prescription), with different side effects, has a double impact on the patient’s well-being, it may add anxiety about whether the best option has been chosen. In addition, there is an special kind of anxiety related to tumor markers anslysis.

Patient is usually informed about PSA and when waiting for results or if they increase, Even if it is a minimal increase, it may be in difficulties. This is known as «PSA anxiety» and can become a real psychological problem. There are patients who make graphs with their PSA and others who go to different analysts to confirm the results. In English, in humour, to indicate the source of anguish that can generate this analysis is called PSA anixety or Promise Stress and Anxiety Promoter.

Prostate cancer can be a major challenge in the lives of those affected. Many aspects of life can be endangered, both in the personal and social work of the patient.

Therefore, it can be important to receive psychological support, individual or with the couple, when the common resources in the patient’s life are not enough. One way to avoid a high degree of discomfort and discomfort from the patient is to maximize the level of information on the effects of the illness, treatment and secondary. Good communication with the doctor is one of the keys to achieving peace and sensation of control for the patient.

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