Partnership and Outcomes in Men with Prostate Cancer

Published In: Cancer, v. 1. 115, no. 20, Oct. 15, 2009, p. 4688-4694

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2009

by Jonathan Bergman, John L. Gore, Christopher S. Saigal, Lorna Kwan, Mark Litwin

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BACKGROUND: Being in a supportive relationship may have improved the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of men with prostate cancer, if the support was strong and positive. In the current study, the authors sought to examine the impact of partnership status on the mental health of men treated for localized prostate cancer. METHODS: Participants had clinically localized prostate cancer and chose treatment with radical prostatectomy (n = 307), external-beam radiotherapy (n = 78), or brachytherapy (n = 91). The authors prospectively assessed subject characteristics and HRQOL outcomes and evaluated associations between partnership outcomes and HRQOL measures. Two multivariate linear regression models were then created, 1 for baseline HRQOL outcomes and 1 for change in HRQOL from baseline to 12 months, with partnership status as the main predictor and subject characteristics as covariates. RESULTS: Partnership status was not found to be associated with either baseline physical or mental health, but partnered participants had less bowel bother (P = .02) and a lower fear of recurrence (P = .03) at baseline than did unpartnered subjects. Men with fewer comorbid conditions scored better across almost all baseline HRQOL domains. Primary treatment type was significantly associated with changes in physical HRQOL, with men undergoing radical prostatectomy describing better changes in physical health than those treated with brachytherapy (P = .04) or those receiving external-beam radiotherapy (P .01). CONCLUSIONS: Physical and mental health was found to be comparable in the study cohort of partnered and unpartnered men treated for prostate cancer. The universally high socioeconomic status of the current study cohort may mitigate differences in HRQOL by partnership status.

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