Maintaining Well-being: Depression and Anxiety in Men with Prostate Cancer and Their Partners

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in Australian men and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men. One in nine men in Australia will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Each year in Australia, more than 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 3,000 men die, which is slightly higher than the number of women who die from breast cancer annually.

Men with prostate cancer report higher levels of depression than the general community however, the rate of depression and anxiety in their partners is even greater — more than double the normal rate for the Australian community.

There are many types of anxiety disorders, each with a range of symptoms. A number of different factors surrounding diagnosis, treatment and remission of prostate cancer may contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder in men and their partners. For example, concerns about Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels, concerns about treatment decisions, potential side-effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction, and fear of recurrence of the cancer, may compound the person’s anxiety.

However, depression in men with prostate cancer is often overlooked and therefore under-diagnosed.

This program assists health professionals to identify depression and anxiety disorders in men with prostate cancer, provides information about various treatments for depression and anxiety disorders, and provides information about how best to support families and carers of men with prostate cancer. It also discusses diagnosis, management, and treatment of the different stages/forms of depression and anxiety disorders in men with prostate cancer.

Produced by the Rural Health Education Foundation

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