A recent study suggests that African-American couples affected by the trials of prostate cancer face emotional challenges that increase the burden of combating the disease. Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center of Florida published the study in the Journal of Cancer Education, which focused primarily on African-American men and how their families fared while dealing with cancer.
“African-Americans continue to experience higher morbidity and mortality rates from prostate cancer and lower survival rates when compared to men of other ethnic and racial groups,” said study leader Brian M. Rivers, Ph.D., M.P.H. Rivers and his research team uncovered several key factors that may contribute to lower prostate cancer survivor rates amongst Black families. Tumor biology, lack of insurance coverage, lack of prostate cancer knowledge, and inadequate communication between the patient’s family and doctors are just a few items said to have detrimental impact.
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“Prostate cancer treatment not only impacts the survivor, but also the primary caregiver and family members,” Rivers added. “Our aim was to examine the role of sociocultural factors on the psychosocial impact among African-American prostate cancer survivors. Little has been documented on how African-American prostate cancer survivors respond and cope with physical and psychosocial outcomes.”
The Moffitt Cancer Center study used twelve couples who were recruited as part of a cancer registry maintained by the National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. The couples were interviewed with a focus on how the disease had become burdensome in their lives. Researchers found, for example, that prostate cancer patients’ chances of survival vary depending on their social networks.
“Several findings from this study point to the need for culturally appropriate interventions that include the role and impact of spirituality, better information for couples regarding symptoms and symptom management, and more effective communication paths,” researchers said.