The Influence of Psychosocial Constructs on the Adherence to Active Surveillance for Localized Prostate Cancer in a Prospective, Population-based Cohort

Published:February 10, 2017DOI:


      To evaluate the influence of psychosocial factors such as prostate cancer (PCa) anxiety, social support, participation in medical decision-making (PDM), and educational level on patient decisions to discontinue PCa active surveillance (AS) in the absence of disease progression.


      The Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation study is a prospective, population-based cohort study of men with localized PCa diagnosed in 2011-2012. PCa anxiety, social support, PDM, educational level, and patient reasons for discontinuing AS were assessed through patient surveys. A Cox proportional hazards model examined the relationship between psychosocial variables and time to discontinuation of AS.


      Of 531 patients on AS, 165 (30.9%) underwent treatment after median follow-up of 37 months. Whereas 69% of patients cited only medical reasons for discontinuing AS, 31% cited at least 1 personal reason, and 8% cited personal reasons only. Patients with some college education discontinued AS significantly earlier (hazard ratio: 2.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.2, 3.2) than patients with less education. PCa anxiety, social support, and PDM were not associated with seeking treatment.


      We found that 31% of men who choose AS for PCa discontinue AS within 3 years. Eight percent of men who sought treatment did so in the absence of disease progression. Education, but not psychosocial factors, seems to influence definitive treatment-seeking. Future research is needed to understand how factors unrelated to disease severity influence treatment decisions among patients on AS to identify opportunities to improve adherence to AS.
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