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Dr. Loeb on a survey for female partners of patients with prostate cancer

Commentary
Video

“We hope that the survey can be helpful in practice to actually assess and give advice to some of these partners of patients, in addition to the questionnaires that we use for the patients themselves,” says Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc.

In this interview, Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc, highlights the development of a survey for female partners of patients with prostate cancer, which was discussed in the paper, “Development and validation of a survey to assess sexual health in female partners of patients with prostate cancer.” Loeb is a professor in the departments of urology and population health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Perlmutter Cancer Center in New York, New York.

Video Transcript:

We started doing research on this topic because of the tremendous impact that prostate cancer has for sexual health. This really runs the gamut. Of course, erectile dysfunction, but also other things: changes in ejaculation, penis size, etc. Not only does that have an impact for patients, but also for the patient's partner. One of our collaborators has a grant and is studying the impact of prostate cancer for male partners. So, in this project, we were looking at the impact of prostate cancer on sexual health and quality of life for female partners of patients. And it turns out that really, it has quite a significant impact. So, we started out with some qualitative work, where we did interviews with female partners of patients, and also looked at online discussion groups, where patients and partners are discussing some of the issues that they're facing. And really, through this preliminary work, we found all kinds of issues that were coming up in relationships as a result of the prostate cancer treatment. Sometimes there was real difficulty in communicating within the couple about some of the sexual changes that were happening. Some of the female partners felt grief at the loss of their usual sexual interaction or isolation if their partner was no longer interested in sexual activity. So, quite a range of negative feelings that were coming up, and different challenges. But unfortunately, this isn't really being assessed in clinical practice.

Our goal was to create a survey that could be used in practice or in research to assess the sexual health and quality of life for female partners and patients. So, that's really what we did. We took the data from these qualitative studies, and also had an expert consensus, and we developed a survey that could assess sexual health and quality of life for female partners of patients with prostate cancer. So, the study is really a validation of this new survey instrument for female partners. We found that it was valid in a sample of 200 female partners of patients from across the US. We hope that the survey can be helpful in practice to actually assess and give advice to some of these partners of patients, in addition to the questionnaires that we use for the patients themselves.

This transcription has been edited for clarity.

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