12 June 2024

New results from Europa Uomo’s EU-ProPER study show the impact of cancer on couples

Half of partners of men with prostate cancer believe that their partner is “not the same man” as he was before treatment, according to findings from a Europa Uomo study.  Only 30% of partners surveyed said the person who had received treatment for prostate cancer was unchanged by the experience.

This is one of the findings emerging from Europa Uomo’s Europa Uomo Prostate Partners’ Experience Research (EU-ProPER) study, based around a targeted survey of 80 questions, available in 17 languages. It is believed to be the first patient-led international study into the quality of life of prostate cancer couples.

The preliminary results were presented at a ground-breaking session at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Paris. Now further findings are being released as further data analysis takes place.

“Maybe it’s unsurprising that prostate cancer brings changes in some people, but now we have data saying that only a third of partners think their partner is unchanged after treatment,” says Europa Uomo’s André Deschamps, who co-ordinated the study. “Maybe these are the people who came out of the treatment a little bit better than the others. We don’t know that from the data yet.”

The results show that prostate cancer brings a significant effect on couples – their relationship, intimacy, social life and mental health. Partners perceive significant impacts of the cancer and its treatments. Half say their partner suffers from fatigue.

The survey gained 1,135 valid responses from partners of men with prostate cancer in 27 countries, with the median age at diagnosis of 61 and the median age at completion 68.

The data analysis is being conducted by a team at the Department of Urology, Erasmus Cancer Institute, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam.