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Study Explores Quality of Life of Prostate Cancer Patients

Patients and their spouses are similarly affected based on phase of illness

FRIDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The impact of prostate cancer on patient and spouse quality of life (QOL) varies based on phase of illness, and psychosocial interventions should target phase-specific difficulties, according to a report published in the Sept. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Laurel L. Northouse, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues investigated quality of life measures among 263 prostate cancer patients and their spouses (dyads) based on phase of disease, which included newly diagnosed cancer, biochemical recurrence with rising prostate-specific antigen values, or advanced prostate cancer.

The researchers found that phase of illness, rather than role, more strongly determined QOL measures, with patients and spouses reporting similar psychosocial experiences based on phase. Biochemical recurrence and advanced dyads reported more negative appraisals of illness and caregiving, greater uncertainty and more hopelessness compared to newly diagnosed dyads. Those in the advanced phase of illness were at highest risk of distress. Across all phases of illness, spouses reported less self-efficacy and social support compared with patients.

"This study provided a comprehensive assessment of psychosocial experiences of patients with prostate cancer and their spouses. Clearly, each person's QOL was affected by prostate cancer, underscoring the need for comprehensive, family-focused programs of care," the authors conclude.

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