Many patients with prostate cancer are afraid that it will affect their quality of life
The emotional consequences associated with prostate cancer can have a significant impact on the life of those affected — sometimes temporarily, but often permanently. These consequences affect not only the patients themselves but also the people around them. A large European study called “Prostate Cancer: Living, not Just Surviving” addressed the emotional and social consequences of prostate disorders. The authors of the study saw a need to act in relation to the emotional and psychological care of patients with prostate cancer. A particularly important factor in patient care, is the role of the family who support the patient. Of those surveyed, 80% said that their daily routine was greatly influenced by the disease, and 85% said that they could no longer be intimate with their partner following the diagnosis.
Improving the communication between prostate cancer patients, their families and their doctors
The study concludes that communication about the impact of having prostate cancer is important, and should be improved. 62% of those affected do not feel comfortable to speak with their partners about their difficulties in the area of physical intimacy.
Of the doctors surveyed, 96% are convinced that family support is very important to the patient. 94% of treating physicians state that they involve people close to the patient when deciding on the method of treatment. Close relatives not only provide support for the patient, they also play a crucial role in gathering information.
Better training to deal with the emotional impact of prostate cancer
From the results of the study, Christian Arnold, Vice President of ANAMACAP (France), who has had prostate cancer himself, concludes that medical staff need better training to deal with the emotional consequences of prostate cancer. Arnold also emphasises the importance of improving the information available to patients about treatments and support, and putting patients in contact with others affected by prostate cancer. He believes that it is important to support patients if they find themselves in emotional distress due to the disease.