The Effects of Social Support on Health-Related Quality of Life of Patients with Metastatic Prostate Cancer.

Patients with metastatic prostate cancer (PC) live longer than patients with metastatic tumours of other sites. Consequently, their social network can influence their quality of life (QoL) during a remarkable life span.

The aim of this article is to present the findings of a systematic review of the studies that focused on social network supporting the quality of life of these patients. A systematic review for studies meeting specific criteria was undertaken on three databases. Some level of unmet psychological needs was present in 54 % of the patients. Depression and fatigue are highly prevalent, and the dyads, patient and partner, are at higher risk for distress symptoms.

The efforts of individuals to cope with metastatic PC appear influenced by adaptative skills and specific types of family support. Psychological and relational problems predominate in the hormone-sensitive stage and are increasingly replaced by physical symptoms, social and spiritual needs in the later stages. In the early castration-resistant stage, patients will discuss with their doctors information about drugs, control of side effects and treatment strategies. In metastatic PC patients, needs change during the course of the disease.

Social support plays a major role in maintaining or disrupting QoL and in the efficacy of psychosocial treatments. The trajectory of disease and its effect on the reduced QoL over the entire life expectancy should be kept in mind by health system providers and social workers.

 J Cancer Educ. 2015 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Colloca G1, Colloca P.

Department of Oncology, G. Borea Hospital, Via G. Borea, 56, 18038, Sanremo, Imperia, Italy