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Am J Mens Health. 2008 Jun;2(2):133-42. doi: 10.1177/1557988307300467. Epub 2007 May 23.

Uncertainty and quality of life among men undergoing active surveillance for prostate cancer in the United States and Ireland.

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Fairfield University School of Nursing, Fairfield, CT 06824, USA.



Prostate cancer continues to be the most common site of male cancers, particularly among older men in Europe and the United States, and the second most common male cancer worldwide. Active surveillance involves the use of no local or systemic therapy once prostate cancer has been diagnosed. A description of uncertainty and quality of life among men undergoing active surveillance in samples from both the United States and Ireland has the potential to enhance global health care delivery.


The specific aim of this study is to enhance the understanding of the experience of active surveillance for prostate cancer among Irish and American men by measuring quality of life and levels of uncertainty among men over the age of 65 in receipt of the active surveillance management option for prostate cancer. A quantitative, descriptive survey design was used.


Twenty-nine men completed questionnaires. The results reveal that men undergoing active surveillance in the United States have slightly higher levels of uncertainty. Primary appraisal, opportunity, and danger appraisal were consistent between samples from both countries. Total affective and health-related quality-of-life scores were similar among active surveillance participants in both countries, but subscale scores identified both similarities and differences. Irish men had lower mean role and social function than U.S. men, and higher general health and energy. Irish men reported more urine bother and less sexual bother than U.S. men.


To assist men with prostate cancer who are treated with the active surveillance management option, health care professionals must develop an awareness of how prostate cancer affects the man's physical and psychological health care outcomes.

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