In men with prostate cancer, do interventions alleviating partner distress improve quality of life?
No studies specifically addressed this question for men with advanced prostate cancer. Two low quality studies with the female partners of men with localised or mixed-stage disease were identified. 
Manne et al randomly assigned 60 wives of men with prostate cancer to either a psycho-education group or no treatment, and assessed a range of adjustment outcomes. Most of the women had husbands with stage II prostate cancer (68%). One month after completion of the group, by comparison to controls, women in the intervention group had less denial (p<0.01), more posttraumatic growth (significant subscore differences with p values ranging from 0.02 to 0.04) and reported gains in positive-reappraisal coping (p=0.05). No effect was found for distress. This study was of low quality.
In a more recent study, Campbell et al randomised 40 African American prostate cancer survivors (from 157 eligible patients) and their intimate partners to six sessions of tele-based cognitive behavioural therapy or standard care. Men in the intervention group reported significant improvements in bother caused by bowel problems (p=0.04) compared with controls; adjustment outcomes for partners in the intervention arm did not differ significantly from partners in standard care. This study was of low quality.
In summary, research to date does not clearly identify the best way to reduce partner distress.
Evidence summary and recommendations
| No moderate- or high-quality studies addressed the outcome. However in one study, group psycho-education led to short-term improvements in female spouse post-traumatic growth and more use of positive-reappraisal coping and less denial. Studies to investigate ways to promote adjustment and quality of life for the partners of gay men with prostate cancer have not been
|As yet there is insufficient evidence to strongly recommend a specific approach to reducing psychological distress and improving quality of life for the partners of men with advanced prostate cancer. However, group psycho-education may be of benefit. Research into effective interventions for the partners of men with advanced prostate cancer is urgently needed.||D|
- Canada AL, Neese LE, Sui D, Schover LR. Pilot intervention to enhance sexual rehabilitation for couples after treatment for localized prostate carcinoma. Cancer 2005 Dec 15;104(12):2689-700 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16294343.
- Manne S, Babb J, Pinover W, Horwitz E, Ebbert J. Psychoeducational group intervention for wives of men with prostate cancer. Psychooncology 2004 Jan;13(1):37-46 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14745744.
- Campbell LC, Keefe FJ, Scipio C, McKee DC, Edwards CL, Herman SH, et al. Facilitating research participation and improving quality of life for African American prostate cancer survivors and their intimate partners. A pilot study of telephone-based coping skills training. Cancer 2007 Jan 15;109(2 Suppl):414-24 Abstract available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17173280.