The purpose of this research is to study the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and variables associated with PTSD in Norwegian long-term testicular cancer survivors (TCSs) both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.
At a mean of 11 years after diagnosis, 1418 TCSs responded to a mailed questionnaire, and at a mean of 19 years after diagnosis, 1046 of them responded again to a modified questionnaire. Posttraumatic symptoms related to testicular cancer were self-rated with the Impact of Event Scale (IES) at the 11-year study only. An IES total score ≥35 defined Full PTSD, and a score 26–34 identified Partial PTSD, and the combination of Full and Partial PTSD defined Probable PTSD.
At the 11-year study, 4.5 % had Full PTSD, 6.4 % had Partial PTSD, and 10.9 % Probable had PTSD. At both studies, socio-demographic variables, somatic health, anxiety/depression, chronic fatigue, and neurotoxic adverse effects were significantly associated with Probable PTSD in bivariate analyses. Probable anxiety disorder, poor self-rated health, and neurotoxicity remained significant with Probable PTSD in multivariate analyses at the 11-year study. In bivariate analyses, probable PTSD at that time significantly predicted socio-demographic variables, somatic health, anxiety/depression, chronic fatigue, and neurotoxicity among participants of the 19-year study, but only probable anxiety disorder remained significant in multivariable analysis.
In spite of excellent prognosis, 10.9 % of long-term testicular cancer survivors had Probable PTSD at a mean of 11 years after diagnosis. Probable PTSD was significantly associated with a broad range of problems both at that time and was predictive of considerable problems at a mean of 19 year postdiagnosis.
Implications for cancer survivors
Among long-term testicular cancer survivors, 10.9 % have Probable PTSD with many associated problems, and therefore health personnel should explore stress symptoms at follow-up since efficient treatments are available.