Loving Partners Help Men Battle Prostate Cancer

Relationships enhance patient's quality of life, study finds

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MONDAY, May 23, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Having a supportive partner greatly improves quality of life for men with prostate cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, tracked the ongoing health of 291 prostate cancer patients, and found that those in a partnered relationship reported much better psychosocial and spiritual health and fewer prostate cancer and general cancer-related problems than single men.

Men in relationships were also better able to tolerate their disease and treatment-related symptoms, according to the study, which is scheduled to appear in the July 1 issue of Cancer.

Previous research has shown that a cancer patient's quality of life can affect survival and that improved quality of life may actually result in longer survival. The study authors noted that only 13 percent of prostate cancer patients attend support groups, perhaps because personal relationships provide an alternative kind of support.

In light of the apparent positive impact that a close relationship can have on quality of life for prostate cancer patients, "clinicians caring for prostate cancer patients need to address coping and social support mechanisms in order to encourage the beneficial aspects of partnership and overcome the detrimental effects of being single," the study authors wrote.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, May 23, 2005

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