A new study shows that men who are receiving treatment for prostate cancer are more prone to depression.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), a certain type of treatment for localized prostate cancer (PCa), particularly the androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), increases the risk for developing depression among men receiving the medication.
It has found that the longer the person receives the medication, the higher the risks of depression. For those receiving the treatment for less than six months, the risk was pegged at 12 percent. Between seven and 11 months, the risk of depression was pegged at 26 percent. It reaches 37 percent when the prostate cancer patient has been receiving the ADT for more than 12 months.
The study, which was published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), further reveals that the link between ADT among prostate cancer patients and its relationship to depression is understudied.
The study further recommends to those interested in expanding the scope of the study to examine whether a specific population is more prone to developing depression when taking ADT.
“We know that patients on hormone therapy often experience decreased sexual function, weight gain and have less energy – many factors that could lead to depression. After taking a deeper look, we discovered a significant association between men being treated with ADT for PCa and depression. This is a completely under-recognised phenomenon,“ head researcher Paul Nguyen said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that affects men in the United States. As of 2012, a total of 177,489 men in the United States were diagnosed with this cancer, and around 27,244 men have already died from prostate cancer in the U.S. alone.