7 April 2024

First results from Europa Uomo’s innovative study into couples’ quality of life

Europa Uomo today announced the first results from its ground-breaking study into the experiences of partners of men with prostate cancer. It found a striking mismatch between the information partners expect and the information given. Only 20% of partners said they had received information about sexuality from a health professional before treatment – even though more than half said their sex life is important to them.

Half of the respondents reported that their partner suffered from incontinence after treatment – yet 18% said their healthcare provider had not mentioned the risk of incontinence before treatment. One in six said they had not been made fully aware of the possible consequences of treatment.

“There is a significant information gap here for partners," he said. "We can work harder to make sure that patients and their partners get appropriate information.”

The Europa Uomo Prostate Partners’ Experience Research (EU-ProPER) study was 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 survey gained 1,135 valid responses from partners of men with prostate cancer in 27 countries, with a median age at diagnosis of 61. André Deschamps from Europa Uomo presented the preliminary results at a ground-breaking session at the European Association of Urology (EAU) Congress in Paris.

One in ten of partners did not share their partner’s diagnosis with children or close family, and 39% said that no one else apart from them was aware of their partner’s incontinence. “It is clear that incontinence is still a taboo and has implications on sex life and social life,” said André Deschamps.

Other quality of life findings from the study include:

  • 19% said their partner’s prostate cancer has reduced their leisure and social activities
  • 33% said their partner’s incontinence has an effect on their social life
  • 27% were satisfied with their sex life
  • 43% said that prostate cancer had made their relationship closer
  • 15% said they are worried about their relationship
  • 20% said they feel lonely.

“Prostate cancer treatments have a substantial effect on the quality of life of partners,” André Deschamps told EAU. “Further analysis is needed to understand the relation between all factors and measures that can be taken to improve quality of life of partners.”

A summary of these early findings is available for download.