Prevalence and predictors of cancer specific distress in men with a family history of prostate cancer

M. E. McDowell, S. Occhipinti, R. A. Gardiner, S. K. Chambers

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To examine prevalence and predictors of cancer-specific distress in undiagnosed men with and without a family history of prostate cancer, and to examine the contribution of perceptions of an affected relative's cancer experience on the distress of unaffected male relatives. Methods: Men with a first degree relative with prostate cancer (n = 207) and men without a family history (n = 239) from Australia completed a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview. Participants completed the Prostate Cancer Anxiety Subscale of the Memorial Anxiety Scale for Prostate Cancer, measures of perceived risk, and socio-demographic information. Men with a family history provided details about their family history (number of relatives diagnosed with and dead from prostate cancer, relationship to affected relative, months since diagnosis) and reported their perceptions of their affected relative's prostate cancer experience including perceptions of threat related to the relative's diagnosis and perceived treatment phase and prognosis. Results: Cancer-specific distress was low for all men and there was no significant difference in the distress experienced by men with and without a family history. Regression analyses showed that for all men, cancer-specific distress increased with urinary symptoms and decreased in those with higher education and in older participants. For men with a family history, having a relative who died from prostate cancer and perceiving greater threat from a relative's diagnosis was associated with greater cancer-specific distress. Conclusions: Interventions would benefit from examining appraisals of familial risk and examining prospective assessments of distress in the unaffected male relatives of men with prostate cancer over the course of the cancer trajectory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2496-2504
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • distress
  • family history
  • oncology
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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