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Eur J Cancer. 2009 Sep;45(14):2569-73. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2009.03.016. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Do the risk factors of age, family history of prostate cancer or a higher prostate specific antigen level raise anxiety at prostate biopsy?

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Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Canynge Hall, 39 Whatley Road, Bristol BS8 2PS, UK.


To date, little is known of the impact knowledge of personal risk factors has on anxiety in men undergoing biopsy tests for prostate cancer. This analysis explores anxiety scores of men at higher risk due to age, family history of prostate cancer and a higher prostate specific antigen (PSA) level when proceeding from PSA test to prostate biopsy. A prospective cohort of 4198 men aged 50-69 years with a PSA result of >3ng/ml was studied, recruited for the Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment study (ProtecT). Anxiety scores at the time of biopsy were lower in older men (p<0.001). No age group showed an increase in anxiety as the men proceeded from PSA testing to biopsy, although older men did not show the same level of decrease in anxiety as younger men (p=0.035). There was no difference in anxiety scores at biopsy between men with or without a family history of prostate cancer (p=0.68), or between those with a raised PSA of 10-<20ng/ml compared to a PSA result of 3-<10ng/ml (p=0.46). Change in scores since the initial PSA test appeared unaffected by family history (p=0.995) or by PSA result (p=0.76). Within the context of a research study, the increased risk of prostate cancer through older age, having a family history of prostate cancer, or having a significantly elevated PSA level appears to have no detrimental effect on men's anxiety level when proceeding to biopsy.

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