Helping African American Prostate Cancer Survivors and Their Partners Cope With Challenges After Surgery for Prostate Cancer

2014-08-27 03:23:23 | BioPortfolio


RATIONALE: Telephone counseling after radical prostatectomy may help African American prostate cancer survivors and their intimate partners cope with the problems and challenges of surgery, and may reduce distress and improve quality of life. It is not yet known which counseling and education program is more effective in helping prostate cancer survivors and their partners.

PURPOSE: This randomized clinical trial is studying effective ways to help African American prostate cancer survivors and their partners cope with challenges after surgery for early-stage prostate cancer.




- To develop more effective ways to help both African American prostate cancer survivors and their intimate partners cope with the problems and challenges experienced after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer.

- To evaluate the efficacy of a new, telephone-based, partner-assisted, coping skills training (CST) protocol for reducing survivor and partner disease-related and overall distress, addressing cancer-related strain and overall distress in survivors' intimate partners, and improving relationship quality between survivors and partners by enhancing intimacy and adjustment within the relationship.


- To identify for whom the intervention may be more or less efficacious by exploring the association between initial relationship functioning (i.e., dyadic adjustment scores reported by survivors and partners) and survivor outcomes and between initial relationship functioning and partner outcomes.

OUTLINE: Survivors are stratified according to symptom severity (low vs moderate vs high) and clinical risk category (low vs moderate vs high). Survivor/partner dyads are randomized to 1 of 3 intervention arms.

- Arm I (Partner-assisted coping skills training [PA-CST]): Survivor/partner dyads undergo a telephone-based, culturally sensitive PA-CST intervention in six weekly telephone sessions (60-minutes each) over 8 weeks, conducted by African American doctoral level clinical psychologists knowledgeable about prostate cancer and experienced in CST and cancer education. During these sessions, participants are trained in a variety of cognitive and behavioral skills to manage symptom-related distress and to improve their quality of life after prostate cancer treatment. Among these skills are strategies for communication (i.e., effective speaking and listening); behavioral coping methods (i.e., activity pacing, applied relaxation techniques, and goal setting to increase pleasant activities); and skills for managing negative mood and reducing emotional stress. Participants also receive guidance in working cooperatively with their partners to improve symptom management, including joint practicing of coping skills and problem-solving strategies.

- Arm II (Cancer education): Survivor/partner dyads undergo a telephone-based, culturally sensitive cancer education intervention in six weekly telephone sessions (60 minutes each) over 8 weeks, conducted by African American doctoral level clinical psychologists knowledgeable about prostate cancer and experienced in CST and cancer education. During the sessions, participants are educated about symptoms commonly experienced after prostatectomy (i.e., erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, nutrition, bowel problems, and fatigue) and medical treatment options for these symptoms. Participants also receive written materials about these information.

- Arm III (Wait-list control): Survivor/partner dyads receive usual care and are placed on a wait-list. After completing the study, survivors and their partners have the option of participating in either the CST or cancer education interventions.

All participants complete questionnaires at baseline, right after intervention (2 months), and 3 months after intervention (5 months). Survivors complete questionnaires over approximately 28 minutes to measure symptom distress/severity, depressed mood, quality of life, self-efficacy for symptom management, relationship quality, and coping strategies. Partners complete questionnaires over approximately 17 minutes to measure caregiver strain, depressed mood, partners' self-efficacy for symptom control, relationship quality, and coping strategies. At each evaluation, physicians provide ratings of illness severity, documentation of medical treatments for cancer and symptom management, and frequency of clinic visits for each survivor.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control


Cancer Survivor


telephone-based intervention, educational intervention, partner-assisted coping skills training, questionnaire administration, psychosocial assessment and care, quality-of-life assessment


Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center at ECU Medical School
North Carolina
United States




National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:23:23-0400

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