The role of anxiety in prostate carcinoma: A structured review of the literature

William Dale, Pinar Bilir, Misop Han, David Meltzer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Although the impact of anxiety on patients with some types of cancer is well recognized, to the authors knowledge its impact on patients with prostate carcinoma has not been studied as thoroughly. The authors conducted a systematic review of the medical literature for high-quality articles that quantified anxiety levels in men with prostate carcinoma and identified 29 articles. Using the clinical timeline of prostate carcinoma to organize the articles, cross-sectional studies that reflected anxiety prevalence in populations and longitudinal studies that reflected changes in anxiety over time were identified. Anxiety appeared to fluctuate over the clinical timeline in response to stressors and uncertainty (such as at the time of screening and/or biopsy), rising before these times and falling afterward. Although anxiety levels in men age > 55 years who were at risk for prostate carcinoma were modest (10-15%), multiple studies found that these levels were substantially higher in men who presented for screening (> 50%), and "seeking peace of mind" was the motivation cited most frequently for pursuing screening. Most studies demonstrated a significant decrease in anxiety levels after a normal screening or biopsy result, although the proportion of men who remained anxious afterward did not fall to baseline levels (20-36%). Men who presented for prostate-specific antigen monitoring after treatment had elevated anxiety levels at the time of testing (23-33%). Many years after therapy for localized disease, anxiety levels were lower after prostatectomy (23%) compared with the levels after watchful waiting (31%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-478
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Medical decision-making
  • Prostate carcinoma
  • Prostate-specific antigen monitoring
  • Screening
  • Stressors
  • Treatment
  • Uncertainty
  • Watchful waiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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