Psychosocial Trajectories of Men Monitoring Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels Following Surgery for Prostate Cancer

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Abstract

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the psychosocial trajectories of men treated surgically for prostate cancer after monitoring their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels until 24 months post-treatment.

Design: Descriptive longitudinal study.

Setting: Urology clinic at Duke University Health System.

Sample: 12 men diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer.

Methods: Men were interviewed in their homes at baseline and at 24 months and via telephone at 6, 12, and 18 months. Scores from the Profile of Mood States, Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale, Self-Control Schedule, and Cantril's Ladder were entered into a database for analysis. Graphs of individual participants' scores were plotted.

Main Research Variables: PSA values, mood state, cognitive reframing, impact of event, quality of life, illness uncertainty, and growth through uncertainty were measured.

Findings: Three trajectories were identified (i.e., stable, unstable, and mixed) and graphed using a typological or health pattern approach.

Conclusions: Monitoring PSA levels is critical for men treated for prostate cancer. This study provides preliminary data on the psychological trajectories of men during the first 24 months postprostatectomy.

Implications for Nursing: Rising PSA levels that are associated with the recurrence of disease can cause psychosocial distress among men with prostate cancer.

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