New Survey Reveals that Prostate Cancer Impacts Sex Lives More than Any Other Aspect of Patients’ Lives

Washington, DC (September 8, 2014) – A recent survey conducted by ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer and Ferring Pharmaceuticals Inc. aimed to uncover the impact of prostate cancer on patients, their caregivers, and the healthcare professionals (HCPs) that support them. The majority (64 percent) of patients surveyed report that their prostate cancer diagnosis has a moderate to severe impact on their social and emotional wellbeing. While patients and caregivers report that the patients’ prostate cancer diagnosis disrupts multiple areas of their lives, both groups say that sex life (specifically impotence and libido), mood, and career are the areas that are most affected.  HCPs agree that sex life and mood are among the most impacted areas, also pointing out that they see a significant impact on patients’ spousal relationships.

“Prostate cancer significantly impacts the daily lives of both patients and their caregivers,” Jamie Bearse, ZERO’s CEO, said. “Part of our mission at ZERO is to encourage patients to take action following their diagnosis – whether it be through educating themselves, changing lifestyle habits, or becoming involved in our fight against prostate cancer. The survey findings clearly demonstrate that patients’ lives are significantly disrupted as a result of the condition; however, the good news is that there are many resources available to them, including support groups, educational materials, and effective treatment strategies. I encourage patients and caregivers to partner with an HCP to develop a holistic treatment plan that works with their lifestyle.”

The impact on patients’ sex lives and mood can be seen through the responses of all three groups surveyed. When asked to rank the impact of specific side effects on their lives, patients say that depression, reduced libido and impotence rank as the most impactful side effects. Caregivers responded in a similar fashion, listing depression, impotence and fatigue, and HCPs listed reduced libido, impotence and depression.

Following diagnosis, the majority of patients and caregivers report that they felt afraid (71 percent for patients and 81 percent for caregivers) and uncertain for the future (75 percent for patients and 79 percent for caregivers). Patients are more likely to report feeling a loss of control than caregivers (44 percent versus 24 percent, respectively) and are also more likely than caregivers to be eager for information (62 percent versus 43 percent, respectively). Despite being afraid and uncertain, the majority of patients and caregivers report that they felt determined to fight the disease following diagnosis (64 percent and 63 percent respectively). Interestingly, many HCPs seem to over-estimate the applicability of emotions to patients’ lives – for example 33 percent of HCPs report that their patients feel hopeless when in actuality, only 13 percent of patients and 11 percent of caregivers report feeling this way.

As it relates to treatment, more than half of patients (59 percent) want an aggressive treatment plan, and over three-quarters of patients (76 percent) report that they prefer to be fully involved in treatment decisions. In terms of factors that impact treatment satisfaction, patients most often say that having an honest, approachable communicative doctor is the most important factor. HCPs agree with this; however, caregivers believe that having a supportive care network is most important.

“The survey results are very encouraging, as they suggest that despite the emotional and social impact of the disease, the majority of patients and caregivers are eager for information and determined to explore options to combat the disease,” said Dr. Neal D. Shore, Medical Director, Carolina Urologic Research Center. “This observation, coupled with an agreed upon treatment plan with shared physician and patient discussion is critical to therapeutic and clinical success.”

About the Survey

Two parallel surveys were conducted to better understand perceptions and experiences relating to prostate cancer among patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals:

  • The Prostate Cancer Patient and Caregiver Survey was conducted by M3 Global, a global insight and strategy firm, in April 2014 among 100 patients diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 100 caregivers for diagnosed patients, using an email invitation and an online survey sent by M3.
  • The Prostate Cancer Healthcare Professional Survey was also conducted by M3 Global in April 2014 among 400 healthcare professionals, including 200 urologists (MD, DO) and 200 physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses, using an email invitation and online survey sent by M3.

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