Anxiety, Depression and Urological Cancer Outcomes: A Systematic Review

Ayushi Dinesh, Sofia Helena Pagani Soares Pinto, Oliver Brunckhorst, Prokar Dasgupta, Kamran Ahmed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


The interplay between physical and mental aspects of a cancer diagnosis are well recognised. However, little consensus exists on the impact of depression and anxiety on urological cancer outcomes. Therefore, this systematic review aimed to investigate the relationship between these conditions and functional or oncological outcomes in urological malignancy.

Materials and Methods
A systematic search was conducted using PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and Global Health databases up to June 2020. Studies evaluating the relationship of anxiety and depression disorders or symptoms on functional and mortality outcomes were included. Outcome measures included validated urinary, sexual, body image questionnaire scores and all-cause or disease-specific mortality.
Of 3,966 studies screened, 25 studies with a total of 175,047 urological cancer patients were included. Significant anxiety and depressive symptoms and disorders were found to impact functional outcomes in several cancer types. A consistent negative association existed for sexual function in prostate, testicular and penile cancer patients. Additionally, poorer urinary function scores were seen in prostate cancer, with increased body image issues in testicular and prostate cancer. Importantly, both overall and disease-specific mortality outcomes were poorer in bladder and prostate cancer patients.

Co-existing depression and anxiety appears to be negatively associated with functional and mortality outcomes in urological cancers. This appears especially evident in male cancers, including prostate and testicular cancer. Although not proving causation, these findings highlight the importance of considering mental wellbeing during follow-up for early recognition and treatment. However, current evidence remains heterogenous, with further studies required exploring patients at risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-828
Number of pages13
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number12
Early online date6 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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