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Depression, Insomnia Affect Many Prostate Cancer Patients

Sleep and mood disorders occur at clinically significant levels in half of cases

MONDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Many men with prostate cancer suffer from insomnia, depression and distress, and younger men as well as those receiving radiation therapy are most at risk, according to a study published the August issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Shannon Ruff Dirksen, R.N., of Arizona State University in Phoenix, and colleagues conducted a study of 51 prostate cancer patients who attended a Veterans Affairs Medical Center outpatient clinic and who completed a questionnaire on insomnia, depression and distress.

Clinically significant insomnia was reported by 27 (53 percent) of the men, with 23 (45 percent) having difficulty initiating sleep and 28 (55 percent) having trouble maintaining sleep, the researchers note. As for depression, 26 (51 percent) of the men were depressed at a clinically significant level and of the 27 men with insomnia, 14 (52 percent) also had depression, the investigators found.

"This exploratory study suggests that clinically significant insomnia is experienced by many men, which is related to depressive symptoms and distress," the authors write. "Younger men and those receiving radiation therapy indicated higher levels of depression and distress, suggesting that nurses caring for these men may want to consider earlier recognition and intervention to decrease the severity of these symptoms."

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