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Psychological adjustment of men with prostate cancer: a review of the literature

Sidney Bloch1*, Anthony Love2, Michelle Macvean3, Gill Duchesne4, Jeremy Couper1 and David Kissane5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

2 Department of Psychology, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

3 Victorian Cancer Council, Melbourne, Australia

4 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia

5 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, New York, USA

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BioPsychoSocial Medicine 2007, 1:2  doi:10.1186/1751-0759-1-2

Published: 10 January 2007



Prostate cancer (PCA) is the most common malignancy and a major cause of death in men but, importantly, a substantial proportion will live for several years following diagnosis. However, they face the prospect of experiencing symptoms, side-effects of treatment and diminished quality of life. The patient's psychological adjustment is particularly complex, given the potential trajectory of the disease, from the point of diagnosis, with its immediate impact, to the phase of palliative care, with its attendant issue of facing mortality. Since a comprehensive review of the literature on psychological adjustment of men with PCA has not yet been done, we have documented relevant research, integrated findings and drawn conclusions, where possible, in order to map out clinical and research implications.


We searched 5 databases for the period 1994 – July 2006, during which most of the work in the field has been done.


We found few studies of substance among the 60 we examined to draw conclusions about psychological adjustment to prostate cancer and its treatment. This is in marked contrast to the picture in breast cancer. While some patterns have emerged, many gaps remain to be filled.


Aspects of methodology need attention, particularly longitudinal, prospective designs, incorporation of control groups and the use of valid and reliable measures. There is scope for qualitative studies as a complement to quantitative research.