Journal Article

The psychological impact of being on a monitoring pathway for localised prostate cancer: A UK-wide mixed methods study


Objective. To address concerns over the psychological impact of being on a monitoring pathway following prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis, this study compared the psychological status of men on active surveillance (AS) or watchful waiting (WW) with men on active treatment (AT), and explored psychological adjustment in men on AS/WW. Methods. Cross-sectional survey of UK men diagnosed with PCa 18-42 months previously (n=16,726, localised disease at diagnosis) and telephone interviews with 24 men on AS/WW. Psychological outcomes were measured using two validated scales (Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental-Well-being Scale; Kessler Psychological Distress Scale). Univariable and multivariable analyses compared outcomes between men on AS/WW and AT. Thematic analysis of interviews was undertaken, informed by a previously developed theory of adjustment to cancer. Results. 3,986 (23.8%) respondents were on AS/WW. Overall, psychological outcomes were similar or better in men on AS/WW compared to those receiving AT (SWEMWBS: Poor well-being; 12.3% AS/WW vs 13.9% AT, adjusted OR=0.86, 95% CI 0.76-0.97; K6: severe psychological distress; 4.6% vs 5.4%, adjusted OR=0.90, 95% CI 0.74-1.08). Interviews indicated most men on AS/WW had adjusted positively. Men with poorer well-being were less able to accept, reframe positively and normalise the diagnosis, described receiving insufficient information and support, and a lack of confidence in their health-care professionals. Conclusions. Most men on AS/WW cope well psychologically. Men making treatment decisions should be given this information. Psychological health should be assessed to determine suitability for AS/WW, and at monitoring appointments. A clear action plan and support from healthcare professionals is important.

Attached files


Matheson, Lauren
Wilding, Sarah
Wagland, Richard
Nayoan, Johana
Rivas, Carol
Downing, Amy
Wright, Penny
Brett, Jo
Kearney, Therese
Cross, William
Glaser, Adam
Gavin, Anna
Watson, Eila

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery\Department of Nursing


Year of publication: 2019
Date of RADAR deposit: 2019-05-23

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