BACKGROUND: The early diagnosis and treatment of depression are cancer care priorities. These priorities are critical for prostate cancer survivors because men rarely seek mental health care. However, little is known about the epidemiology of depression in this patient population. The goal of this study was to describe the prevalence and predictors of probable depression in prostate cancer survivors.
METHODS: The data were from a population-based cohort of North Carolinian prostate cancer survivors who were enrolled from 2004 to 2007 in the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (n = 1031) and were prospectively followed annually from 2008 to 2011 in the Health Care Access and Prostate Cancer Treatment in North Carolina study (n = 805). Generalized estimating equations were used to evaluate an indicator of probable depression (Short Form 12 mental composite score ≤48.9; measured at enrollment and during the annual follow-up) as a function of individual-level characteristics within the longitudinal data set.
RESULTS: The prevalence of probable depression fell from 38% in the year of the cancer diagnosis to 20% 6 to 7 years later. Risk factors for probable depression throughout the study were African American race, unemployment, low annual income, younger age, recency of cancer diagnosis, past depression, comorbidities, treatment decisional regret, and nonadherence to exercise recommendations.
CONCLUSIONS: Depression is a major challenge for prostate cancer survivors, particularly in the first 5 years after the cancer diagnosis. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate an association between treatment decisional regret and probable depression.