I just received this alarming message on my newswire. I can’t comment on it now because my elderly mother is here. But we, as a community, must provide extra support and resources to younger patients, and do it in a timely way, up front when they are diagnosed. It is absolutely critical. (Note: emphases in article are mine.)


Renal and Urology News: Men Take PCa Diagnosis Hard

by Jody Charnow

April 11, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO—Men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer are at elevated risk of cardiovascular death and suicide, according to separate analyses of a cohort of Swedish men.

The risk of both is highest within a week after men receive their diagnosis and among men aged 54 years and younger, researchers reported here at the 2008 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. The studies were conducted by investigators at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Compared with men without a prostate cancer diagnosis, those diagnosed with the malignancy had an overall 50% increased risk of cardiovascular death and a 2.6 times higher risk of suicide. The risk of cardiovascular death was higher among men without a previous history of CVD compared with those with a history of CVD. The study population included 5,225,878 men, of whom 149,982 had prostate cancer. Investigators followed prostate cancer patients from the date of diagnosis to one year following the diagnosis. Compared with men without prostate cancer, men aged 54 years or less were at nearly nine times higher risk of death from cardiovascular causes. The risk decreased with age, with prostate cancer patients aged 55-64, 65-74, and 75 years and older at 2.2, 1.7, and 1.3 times higher risk, respectively. The risk of cardiovascular death was about eight times higher within seven days after diagnosis; it was 3.6, 1.4, and 1.1 times higher 8-28, 29-183, and 184-366 days after diagnosis.

Men aged 54 years or less were at five times higher risk of suicide compared with men without prostate cancer. The risk was nearly twofold higher among men aged 55-64 and 2.7 and 2.6 times higher among men aged 65-74 and 75 years and older, respectively. Suicide risk was eight times higher within seven days of diagnosis, and 2.7, 3.0, and 1.9 times higher 8-28, 29-183, and 184-366 days after diagnosis, respectively, compared with men without prostate cancer. Suicide risk was slightly greater in men without partners and in those with a lower education level.

The investigators said the increased risk of cardiovascular deaths and suicides immediately following a prostate cancer diagnosis illustrates that such a diagnosis is a severely stressful event. This vulnerable group of patents may benefit from careful delivery of the diagnostic message and supportive services offered immediately after the diagnosis, the researchers concluded.

The symposium was sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology.