Relationship between hot flashes and distress in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer

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Side effects of cancer treatment have been found to have a significant impact on patients' psychological well-being. Each of the primary treatment options for prostate cancer is associated with significant side effects that can have a dramatic impact on quality of life. Hot flashes are a notable side effect of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and a potential source of distress due to their episodic nature and low frequency in a normal aging male population. The current study sought to examine the relationship between hot flashes and cancer-related distress during the first three months of ADT.


Participants were 68 men with various stages of prostate cancer scheduled to begin ADT for the first time. Study measures were completed at the beginning of treatment and 3 months later.


Repeated measures ANOVA indicated that men who did not experience hot flashes had a significant decrease in total cancer-related distress and avoidance over the 3-month period, while men with hot flashes exhibited no change in distress. Among men with hot flashes, results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated that a worse experience with hot flashes was a significant predictor of greater increases in intrusion and total cancer-related distress over the 3-month period.


These results suggest that hot flashes serve to maintain levels of distress during the treatment period. Further research should extend these findings by lengthening the follow-up period and using ecological momentary assessment to refine measurement of these constructs and provide evidence for the direction of causality between hot flashes and distress. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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