Study Supports Early Intervention for Prostate Cancer Patients Who Experience Significant Emotional Distress

“A study led by the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute has identified beliefs and personality traits that are associated with higher levels of distress in newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients.

“The findings support the value of emotional and informational support for patients and perhaps early counseling for some who are the most distressed.

“Factors that were associated with greater distress included a lack of confidence in deciding how to treat the cancer, being concerned that the cancer will progress, feeling that one’s masculinity was under threat and tendencies to be less optimistic and resilient.

“The study, ‘Factors Associated with Emotional Distress in Newly Diagnosed Prostate Cancer Patients,’ was first published online in Psycho-Oncology in January 2015. The results are from a larger longitudinal study of prostate cancer patients, ‘Live Well Live Long!’ The research was based on assessments of 1,425 men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer at five different centers.”


Phone Counseling Helps Rural Women with Cancer Gene Tests

“Telephone counseling on genetic testing is as effective as in-person counseling for women at high risk for breast or ovarian cancer, a new study finds.

“While in-person genetic counseling is available for many women in cities, that’s typically not the case for women in rural areas, the researchers noted.

“This study included 988 women at risk for hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer. All received a personalized brochure and other materials about genetic testing, and a genetic counselor reviewed the materials with each woman.

“About half the women met the counselor in person, while the other half talked with the counselor on the phone. The women were surveyed a week after counseling.

“Women were more likely to choose genetic testing after in-person counseling, but the researchers found no difference between in-person and phone counseling in terms of women’s levels of knowledge gained about genetic testing or in their anxiety, distress or quality of life.”


Counseling Needed to Allay Fear of Lymphedema in Breast Cancer Survivors

“Individualized education and counseling should begin before surgery and continue throughout treatment for breast cancer survivors fearful of developing lymphedema, especially younger patients and those at higher risk after axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), a recent study found.

“More than 300 patients undergoing treatment for unilateral breast cancer were screened for lymphedema before and every 3 to 8 months after surgery and asked to fill out questionnaires assessing their fear. Higher preoperative fear score, age younger than 50 at diagnosis, and ALND were significantly associated with higher mean postoperative fear scores. The findings were published in the September issue of Oncology Nursing Forum.

“ ‘If and when fear of lymphedema is identified, nurses should evaluate whether that fear generates appropriate proactive behavior to prevent lymphedema or whether it negatively affects the survivor’s physical or mental state,’ the authors wrote. ‘In the latter case, such fear should alert nurses to counsel, educate, reassure, support, and reassess the patient on an ongoing basis.’

“The findings indicate that lymphedema—characterized by abnormal accumulation of fluid in the interstitial spaces of the arm, hand, shoulder, breast, or chest wall—is  distressing to many women regardless of whether or not they develop the condition, the authors said. In addition to physical symptoms such as swelling, heaviness and discomfort, and an increased risk of infection, many women experience psychological distress leading to poor body image, lower self-esteem, and increased anxiety.”


Lymphoma Treatment May Harm, Halt Men's Sperm Production

“Treatment for lymphoma may lower men’s fertility, new research indicates.

“Both Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which are cancers of the body’s white blood cells, often affect young people who are still in their reproductive years. For men, treatment for these cancers can harm or halt sperm production. Although most men regain their fertility within two years of treatment, the researchers cautioned that men should be counseled about the possibility of this significant side effect before treatment begins.

” ‘While many men can look forward to their fertility returning after treatment is over, not all will be so fortunate,’ Dr. Rebecca Sokol, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said in a society news release. ‘It is imperative that prior to the initiation of therapy, counseling and sperm preservation be made available to all lymphoma patients and their partners who may want to have children in the future.'”


Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know

“At first glance, the connection between a cancer diagnosis and depression might seem to be an obvious one. However, in patients battling this life-threatening disease, depression can have a serious impact, and even worsen the odds of survival. While the best approach to interrupting this vicious cycle is not fully understood, clinicians can help patients improve their odds by availing them of therapeutic resources and open communication.”


Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know

“At first glance, the connection between a cancer diagnosis and depression might seem to be an obvious one. However, in patients battling this life-threatening disease, depression can have a serious impact, and even worsen the odds of survival. While the best approach to interrupting this vicious cycle is not fully understood, clinicians can help patients improve their odds by availing them of therapeutic resources and open communication.”


Depression and Cancer: 10 Things You Should Know

“At first glance, the connection between a cancer diagnosis and depression might seem to be an obvious one. However, in patients battling this life-threatening disease, depression can have a serious impact, and even worsen the odds of survival. While the best approach to interrupting this vicious cycle is not fully understood, clinicians can help patients improve their odds by availing them of therapeutic resources and open communication.”


Radiation Therapists Lack Counseling to Address Erectile Dysfunction in Prostate Cancer

“Further education is needed for radiation therapists on providing psychosexual counseling and clinical information to patients with prostate cancer experiencing erectile dysfunction, according to findings presented at the Congress of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology.

” ‘We found that a large proportion of therapists either did not address erectile dysfunction during discussions with patients about their disease, or only mentioned it if the patient raised the issue first,’ Carla O’Connell, a radiation therapist at Trinity College in Dublin, said in a press release. ‘As far as we could ascertain, in many cases neither therapist nor patient felt comfortable enough to raise the topic. A lack of time and the perception that patients do not expect radiation therapists to ask about sexual matters were the biggest barriers to addressing the problems of erectile dysfunction that we found.’ “


Patients Receiving ADT Should be Counseled to Improve Mental and Emotional Well-Being

“A new study published in the Journal of Urology reports that prostate cancer patients treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) experienced changes in mental and emotional well-being during treatment, although there was no meaningful decline in emotional quality of life two years after treatment. Investigators at the University of California-San Francisco recommend counseling men about the potential adverse effects of ADT as well as the interventions to improve mental and emotional health such as exercise programs and diet.”