BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer treatment often results in significant psycho-sexual challenges for men following treatment; however, many men report difficulty in accessing appropriate care. METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was undertaken to assess the efficacy of a 10-week self-guided online psychological intervention called My Road Ahead (MRA) for men with localized prostate cancer in improving sexual satisfaction. Participants were randomized to 1 of 3 conditions MRA alone or MRA plus online forum, or forum access alone. Pre, post, and follow-up assessments of overall sexual satisfaction were conducted. Mixed models and structural equation modeling were used to analyze the data. RESULTS: One hundred forty-two men (mean age 61 y; SD = 7) participated. The majority of participants had undergone radical prostatectomy (88%) and all men had received treatment for localized prostate cancer. Significant differences were obtained for the 3 groups (P = .026) and a significant improvement in total sexual satisfaction was observed only for participants who were allocated to MRA + forum with a large effect size (P = .004, partial eta2 = 0.256). Structural equation modeling indicated that increases in sexual function, masculine self-esteem, and sexual confidence contributed significantly to overall sexual satisfaction for the MRA + forum plus forum condition. CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first, to our knowledge, that has evaluated a self-guided online psychological intervention tailored to the specific needs of men with prostate cancer. The findings indicate the potential for MRA to deliver support that men may not otherwise receive and also highlight the importance of psychological intervention to facilitate improved sexual outcomes.
Objective: To examine the psychological and social adjustment of men with early or advanced stage prostate cancer and to compare them with a matched group of cancer-free community volunteers. Methods: A longitudinal observational study in which 367 men recently diagnosed with early (n =211) or advanced stage (n = 156), prostate cancer were compared to 169 cancer-free men from the community, of similar age and residential area, using self-report measures of psychosocial adjustment. Results: On the mental health subscales of the Short-Form 36-item Health Survey, men with advanced disease had lower vitality and social functioning than the other two groups, and lower mental health scores than the comparison group. Both patient groups had lower role-emotional scores than the comparison group. With regard to the Brief Symptom Inventory, the advanced disease group had higher somatization scores, and lower interpersonal sensitivity and paranoid ideation scores than the early stage group and the community comparison group. In terms of psychiatric morbidity, there were higher rates of anxiety disorders but not depressive disorders in both patient groups although overall diagnosis rates were low. No differences were found in terms of couple or family functioning. Conclusions: There is impairment in psychosocial function in men with prostate cancer, particularly those with advanced disease, but no increase in the rate of formal psychiatric disorder or adverse effects on the couples and families. This suggests directions for psychosocial interventions with these patient groups