BreathingGuided ImageryPouchitisStress Management

Stress-management for radical prostatectomy patients

Men receiving support before prostate surgery showed improved quality of life following surgery, according to a study presented during the American Society of Clinical Oncology 43rd Annual Meeting and reported on Medscape.

Dr. Lorenzo Cohen from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston looked at 158 men randomly assigned to 3 groups.

  • Stress-management: Men discussed their fears and concerns about the upcoming surgery. They were taught diaphragmatic breathing, guided imagery, and adaptive coping skills, and encouragement to revisit the day of surgery in their memory.
  • Supportive-attention: Men discussed fears and concerns about surgery and had an interview. This group and the stress-management group above met with a clinical psychologist twice before surgery plus another brief session prior to surgery and before discharge from hospital.
  • Usual-care: No interventions or meetings with a psychologist.

And, the results.

  • Even brief presurgical stress-management intervention helped improve quality of life 6 and 12 months after radical prostatectomy.”

The bottom line?
The researchers concluded, “Adopting such interventions may well improve outcomes.”

OK, but what’s the extent of the need for psychological support among men with prostate cancer?

Dr. Suzanne Steginga from the Queensland Cancer Fund in Brisbane, Australia addressed this issue during the International Union Against Cancer Conference in 2006.

She reported, “Although men tend to report low psychological distress after diagnosis, a substantial subgroup — up to 38% of men — are highly distressed. One-third of men report unmet needs for support about sexuality, psychological distress, and treatment information up to 5 years after treatment. Many men report longer term decision-related distress, and decision regret is associated with poorer quality of life after treatment. Problematically, men are generally disinclined to seek help for psychological distress and are consistently under-represented as clients to cancer support services.”

8/28/07 20:37 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.