Fear of Cancer Recurrence: a Significant Concern Among Partners of Prostate Cancer Survivors

The aims of the study were to 1) describe the prevalence of fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) in partners of prostate cancer (PCa) survivors; 2) to compare the proportions of high FCR in partners with high FCR in PCa survivors; 3) to explore partners' demographic and survivors' clinical characteristics associated with high FCR in partners and 4) to identify the relationship between high FCR and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in partners.

Questionnaires were sent to partners of disease-free PCa survivors. Outcomes included FCR severity (Cancer Worry Scale, CWS) and HRQoL (RAND-36). T-tests and chi-square tests were used to compare partner FCR with survivor FCR. Regression analyses were performed to determine if demographic and clinical characteristics were significantly associated with partner FCR. MANOVAs identified differences in HRQoL between partners with high and low FCR.

Questionnaires were completed by 168 partners. Mean levels of FCR were comparable between partners and survivors (p = 0.144). Thirty-five percent of partners reported high FCR (CWS ≥14) compared to 38% percent of PCa survivors (CWS ≥13) (p = 0.542). Higher survivor FCR and younger partner age were significantly associated with higher partner FCR. Partners with high FCR scored significantly lower on social functioning, emotional role functioning, mental health, general health and vitality than those with low FCR (all p < 0.05).

Findings from this study illustrate that FCR is a significant concern for partners of PCa survivors. Clinicians should be aware of partner FCR when delivering care to men with PCa.

Psycho-oncology. 2017 Mar 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Marieke van de Wal, Simône Langenberg, Marieke Gielissen, Belinda Thewes, Inge van Oort, Judith Prins

Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen., Department of Medical Oncology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen., Department of Psychology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam., Department of Urology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen.