Prostate Cancer: Stress Management After Surgery

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Prostate Cancer: Stress Management after Surgery


Welcome to this month’s Men’s Health newsletter. Our topic: Prostate cancer anxiety helped with stress management. Stress management counseling appears to benefit men who have all or part of their prostate removed to treat early-stage prostate cancer, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study author Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, a professor of oncology, says experts know that for men with early-stage prostate cancer, the time when they are making treatment decisions is very stressful. A radical prostatectomy is not without possible very personal consequences, he adds, including urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Patients may also be worried about the uncertainty that the surgery will cure their cancer.

The study included 159 patients who were assigned to receive one of three therapies. The first consisted of two 60 to 90 minute sessions of stress management given before surgery, including brief booster sessions the morning of surgery, and 48 hours after surgery. The second had two 60 to 90 minute sessions of individual supportive attention before and after surgery, similar to the stress management group. The third involved standard care, or no therapy.

In the short term, one week before and the morning of surgery, men in the stress management group had the lowest levels of distress, anxiety, or depression. This was followed by those in the supportive attention group. There was a strong difference between men in the stress management group and those in the standard care group, who had the highest levels of mood disturbance. In the long run, 6 weeks, and 12 months, after surgery, the men in the stress management group reported the highest levels of physical functioning and quality of life. The difference between the men whose stress was managed and those in the standard care group was clear.

Dr. Cohen says we need to learn more before we can suggest that stress management is useful prior to surgery for all men undergoing a radical prostatectomy. It’s important to learn what type of person will be most helped by this intervention. Anyone diagnosed with cancer should be encouraged to participate in stress management programs, notes Dr. Cohen. He adds that stress management programs are safe, may improve patient’s well-being, and help them adjust to a cancer diagnosis.

For more information, always consult your doctor. Thank you for listening. Please visit our website for more information on health and wellness topics.

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