BACKGROUND: Appropriate depression care is a cancer-care priority. However, many cancer survivors live with undiagnosed and untreated depression. Prostate cancer survivors may be particularly vulnerable, but little is known about their access to depression care. The goal of this study was to describe patterns and predictors of clinical diagnosis and treatment of depression in prostate cancer survivors.
METHODS: Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate indicators of self-reported clinical diagnosis and treatment depression as a function of individual-level characteristics within a longitudinal dataset. The data were from a population-based cohort of North Carolinian prostate cancer survivors who were enrolled from 2004 to 2007 on the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (N = 1,031), and prospectively followed annually from 2008 to 2011 on the Health Care Access and Prostate Cancer Treatment in North Carolina (N = 805).
RESULTS: The average rate of self-reported clinical diagnosis of depression was 44% (95% CI: 39%-49%), which declined from 60% to 40% between prostate cancer diagnosis and 5-7 years later. Factors associated with lower odds of self-reported clinical diagnosis of depression include African-American race, employment, age at enrollment, low education, infrequent primary care visits, and living with a prostate cancer diagnosis for more than 2 years. The average rate of self-reported depression treatment was 62% (95% CI: 55%-69%). Factors associated with lower odds of self-reported depression treatment included employment and living with a prostate cancer diagnosis for 2 or more years.
CONCLUSION: Prostate cancer survivors experience barriers when in need of depression care.