Intervening to improve psychological outcomes for men with prostate cancer

Suzanne K. Chambers, Megan Ferguson, R. A. Gardiner, Joanne Aitken, Stefano Occhipinti

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Background Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the Western world with well-described negative effects from treatments. However, outcomes are highly heterogeneous. A Phase 3 trial of a psycho-educational intervention was undertaken, aiming to reduce cancer-specific and decision-related distress and improve quality of life for men newly diagnosed with localised prostate cancer. Methods Seven hundred forty (81.7%) men were recruited after diagnosis and before treatment and randomised to a tele-based nurse-delivered five-session psycho-educational intervention (N = 372) or usual care (N = 368). Participants were assessed before treatment and 2, 6, 12 and 24 months post-treatment. Outcome measures included cancer-specific and decision-related distress, cognitive judgmental adjustment, subjective well-being, and domain-specific and health-related quality of life. Social support was assessed as a potential moderator. Results No unconditioned effects were found. Classification analyses on pre-randomisation measures distinguished three subgroups: younger, higher education and income men (N = 290); younger, lower education and income men (N = 106); and older men (N = 344). Younger, higher education and income men showed positive intervention effects for cancer-specific distress (p = 0.008) and mental health (p = 0.042). By contrast, for younger, lower education men, participation in the intervention was associated with decreases in cognitive judgmental adjustment over time (p = 0.006). Conclusions Response to intervention and adjustment over time varied according to previous sexual functioning, age, educational level and income. How to best intervene with younger, low education, low income men with prostate cancer is a critical future research question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1034
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • oncology
  • prostate cancer
  • psycho-educational intervention
  • psychological adjustment
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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