Decreasing suicide risk among patients with prostate cancer: Implications for depression, erectile dysfunction, and suicidal ideation screening

Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among males, accounting for 19% of cancers, and the third most common cancer-related cause of death. Suicide rates in the United States have increased among males over the last decade. Further, suicide rates are higher in oncology patients, including patients with prostate cancer, compared to the general population. The objective of this article is to review the current literature and address the relationship between prostate cancer, depression, erectile dysfunction, and suicidal ideation.

We reviewed the current literature pertaining to prostate cancer and depression, and prostate cancer and suicide. Furthermore, associations were made between erectile dysfunction and depression.

Men with prostate cancer at increased risk for suicidal death are White, unmarried, elderly, and men with distant disease. Time since diagnosis is also an important factor, since men are at risk of suicide>15 years after diagnosis. Approximately 60% of men with prostate cancer experience mental health distress, with 10%-40% having clinically significant depression. Additionally, patients that received androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) are 23% more likely to develop depression compared to those without ADT. Longitudinal studies of prostate cancer patients suggest that erectile dysfunction after curative treatment may have a significant psychological effect leading to depression. Herein, a newly proposed screening algorithm suggests for an evaluation with the expanded prostate cancer index composite-clinical practice, patient health questionnaire-9, and an 8-question suicidal ideation questionnaire to assess for health-related quality of life, depression, and suicidal ideation.

The burden of screening for erectile dysfunction, depression and suicidal ideation lies with the entire health care team, as there appears to be an association between these diagnoses, that is, compounded in patients with prostate cancer. The screening algorithm should assist with guiding timely and appropriate psychiatric referral to optimize outcomes in these high-risk patients.

Urologic oncology. 2017 Sep 27 [Epub ahead of print]

Zachary Klaassen, Karan Arora, Shenelle N Wilson, Sherita A King, Rabii Madi, Durwood E Neal, Paul Kurdyak, Girish S Kulkarni, Ronald W Lewis, Martha K Terris

Department of Surgery, Section of Urology, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, Augusta, GA; Division of Urology, University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address: ., St. George's University School of Medicine, St. George's, Grenada, West Indies., Department of Surgery, Section of Urology, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, Augusta, GA., Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada., Division of Urology, University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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