In a recent study, an educational session helped alleviate distress equally in both patients with prostate cancer and their partners.
The presence of a partner at the session did not affect patients’ pre- or post-session distress or the success of the session at alleviating distress. Also, sociodemographic and clinical characteristics had little effect on distress levels.
For the study, 71 patients and 48 partners attended a session that provided information on prostate cancer biology and treatments, as well as the opportunity to consult with a urologist and a radiation oncologist simultaneously.
“Our education session was successful at reducing pre-treatment distress among men with prostate cancer. More than that, however, we found that the session was equally effective for partners,” said Dr. Lindsay Hedden, lead author of the BJU International study. “This is critical because partners frequently experience higher levels of distress and anxiety than the men with prostate cancer themselves. Our research underscores the fact that supportive care services should be targeted not only to patients, but to their partners as well.” Dr. Hedden also noted that because patients’ health status is linked to that of their partners, not attending to partners’ needs may be harmful to patients in the long run.