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Psychosoc Med. 2010 Jun 30;7:Doc02. doi: 10.3205/psm000064.

The relationship of quality of life and distress in prostate cancer patients compared to the general population.

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Department of Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University of Leipzig, Germany.



The aim of this study is two-fold. The first part compares quality of life (QoL) data of prostate cancer patients with those of a representative and age-specific sample of the general population and analyzes the influence of cancer related as well as socio-demographic parameters on QoL. Secondly, differences in QoL depending on the experienced psychological distress will be shown both in prostate cancer patients and in the general population.


A sample of 265 prostate cancer patients completed both the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) during their stay in the hospital. A total HADS cut off score of 15 was used to indicate psychological distress and significant emotional concerns in patients and men of the general population. The results of the patients were compared with those of the general population (N=444).


Prostate cancer patients reported significantly worse levels of social and emotional functioning as well as more symptoms like insomnia, constipation and diarrhea compared to the general population. Patients and men of the general population with a total HADS score >/=15 reported lower QoL in all sub-scales except for diarrhea in comparison to people without distress.


Psychological distress is accompanied by lower QoL and therefore should be taken into consideration when QoL is assessed. Furthermore, clinicians should be trained by professionals to detect distress in their patients and to pay more attention to their emotional concerns, which are strongly associated with the patients' well-being and QoL during their stay in hospital.


cancer; distress; general population; oncology; prostate; quality of life

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