Objective: To explore through questionnaire the support care needs of men who have undergone prostate cancer treatment and their partners.
Subjects/Patients: Men who had undergone prostate cancer treatment within the last 6 years and their partner.
Methods: Men and partners individually answered a semi-structured questionnaire that used the 5-point Likert Scale and which explored support care issues as identified in the literature and from focus groups. Data were analysed using sample T-test.
Results: Thirty one men and partners (n=62) participated and were similar in age, educational level and employment status. The mean time since prostate cancer diagnosis was 32mths (± 19.2). Men and partners were moderately satisfied with information given regarding diagnosis, treatment and side effects, but partners were more satisfied with information relating to the particular chosen treatment (p=0.014). Men’s understanding of their chosen treatment’s potential side effects was significantly different from their understanding of diagnosis (p = 0.001), cancer outcome (p = 0.031), treatment options (p = 0.000) and selected treatment (p = 0.000). Timing of information delivery was preferred by men at diagnosis, whilst partners preferred after the diagnosis (p=0.009). Men wanted more time to think about the diagnosis and treatment (p=0.039), whilst partners wanted an opportunity to discuss the diagnosis (p=0.039). The management of common side effects such as emotional changes, incontinence and erectile dysfunction was rated as ‘somewhat’ satisfactory. The majority of participants indicated that having the same health professional, such as nurse, throughout diagnosis and treatment would be beneficial.
Conclusions: Given the identified differences in the response from, and the gaps in the care provided to men and partners, it is proposed that a specialised prostate cancer nurse provide tailored care to both men and their partner throughout the prostate cancer journey.