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Prostate cancer disparities have been well documented, and this study analyzes the way they manifest in the emotional and psychosocial lives of patients who have already undergone treatment, as well as their partners.

Disparities in prostate cancer outcomes are caused by a variety of factors and result in a variety of different effects, including effects related to the partner of the patient, their race, and the place where they live. These different factors can cause both direct health-related outcomes, such as different symptoms and effects on quality of life, as well as psychosocial effects, including stress and other forms of mental distress. This study, published in Cancer Medicine, analyzes the effects of these different social determinants of health on prostate cancer disparities.

The Most Important Metrics About Prostate Cancer Patients and Their Partners

The study is based on data from 273 patients and their partners. All patients were 40–75 years of age, within 16 weeks of finishing treatment for localized prostate cancer, and with no history of cancer within the past two years. All of the patients had an intimate partner who was willing to participate in the study. Both patients and partners were evaluated to measure their health outcomes and determine the presence of mental factors such as anxiety, sleep disturbance, and fatigue. These variables were then measured against socioeconomic factors such as the patients’ neighborhood, socioeconomic status, education, employment, and housing situation. 

Among the participants included in the study, White patients were more likely to live in neighborhoods with less socioeconomic deprivation, and patients living in these areas were more likely to have undergone a prostatectomy. Those in areas with higher deprivation showed more comorbidities than those in other areas, overall. Patients in areas with higher deprivation also showed worse social well-being. 

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Non-White participants reported less depression, and those in areas with more economic deprivation reported more anxiety and other symptoms, including sexual and hormonal symptoms. Partners of patients in areas with high economic deprivation reported more anxiety than those in areas with less deprivation, but this difference didn’t persist racially within each socioeconomic group. 

Racial Disparities Are Mixed Among Prostate Cancer Patients Who Have Already Undergone Treatment

In transitioning from treatment to self-management, patients and their partners undergo many changes and have many concerns, and this is one of the only studies that has analyzed this stage in this much detail. The racial disparities shown in the data are mixed, with Black patients reporting better overall emotional and functional quality of life, but also more depression and positive appraisals of illness. It is hypothesized that this may be the result of resilience-inducing factors in psychosocial support networks that are present in these communities.

Source:

Song, L., Keyserling, T. C., Chen, R. C., Ma, C., Xu, S., Shieh, K., Fuller, G. P., Nielsen, M. E., Northouse, L. L., Tan, X., & Rini, C. (2023). Role, race, and place: Prostate cancer disparities in Patients’ and Partners’ health outcomes and psychosocial factors. Cancer Med. https://doi.org/10.1002/cam4.5646