Patients With Urologic Cancer Need Psycho-oncologic Support to Manage High Stress

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More than half of patients with urologic tumors have high stress and require psycho-oncologic support.
More than half of patients with urologic tumors have high stress and require psycho-oncologic support.

Patients with urologic cancer, particularly prostate cancer, should be offered psycho-oncologic support to manage high stress caused by emotional stressors.1

In a study presented at the 2017 Genitourinary Cancer symposium, researchers from the Department of Urology at the University Hospital Cologne in Cologne, along with researchers from RWTH University Aachen, the Urological Clinic in Aachen, and Cologne University in Cologne, all in Germany, evaluated the psychological distress of patients with urogenital malignancies, particularly patients with testicular cancer and prostate cancer.1

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Patient distress was assessed using the distress thermometer, a screening tool developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The distress thermometer is a 36-item problem checklist that subdivides the causes of distress into 5 main categories: practical, family, emotional, spiritual/religious, or physical. Oncology nurses play an important role in the success of the distress-screening tool because they have the most interaction with the patient.2

The researchers found that the most common form of stressors were of emotional origin, specifically fear (50%), worry (44%), nervousness (42%), sleep disorders (39%), and fatigue (32%). Sixty-four percent of patients with urologic tumors had a high stress level and required psycho-oncologic support. Patients with prostate cancer had higher stress levels than patients with testicular cancer in the subgroups of metastatic disease, secondary therapy, and salvage treatment.

The investigators conclude that more than half of patients with urologic tumors should be offered psycho-oncologic support. In particular, patients with advanced-stage prostate cancer have a high stress level. Therefore, urologic oncology clinicians should be aware of their patients' psychologic distress to identify high-risk patients and provide them with appropriate psycho-oncologic support.


1. Paffenholz P, Angerer-Shpilenya M, Salem J, et. al. Distress screening in patients with urogenital malignancies. Poster presented at: 2017 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium; February 16-18, 2017; Orlando, Florida. Abstract 412.

2. Vitek L, Rosenzweig MQ, Stollings S. Distress in patients with cancer: definition, assessment, and suggested interventions. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2007;11(3):413-418. doi: 10.1188/07.CJON.413-418

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