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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Prostate Cancer -

Money issues strain marriage after prostate cancer

Prostate CancerJun 30, 07

For men with prostate cancer, lost work income and increased health care costs can have a damaging effect on their marriage, Swedish researchers report.

It’s likely that the expenses involved in treating prostate cancer have an even larger impact on marital quality for men living in countries where health care is much more expensive than it is in Sweden, for example the United States, Gunnar Steineck of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health.

He and his colleagues sought to identify factors affecting the marital quality of men diagnosed with prostate cancer by surveying 426 men between the ages of 50 and 80. All had been diagnosed with the disease in 1999, and were still living in late 2002.

Nearly 40 percent said that having prostate cancer had worsened the quality of their marriage. Men who reported spending more money due to the diagnosis, who accounted for 46.2 percent of the group, were 50 percent more likely to report reduced marital quality. The 55.4 percent who said their income had shrunk after being diagnosed were also at 50 percent greater risk of lowered marital quality.

And the 46.3 percent of men who developed erectile dysfunction after being treated for prostate cancer were nearly four times as likely to say their marital quality had fallen due to the disease.

Men younger than 70 were more likely than older men to say their marriages had gotten worse after their prostate cancer diagnosis, as were those who reported being depressed or having urinary leakage.

Couples may be able to keep their marriage healthy by discussing potential issues related to the disease soon after a prostate cancer diagnosis, Steineck said. “There are many causes and reasons for you to get depressed mood and have problems in your marriage,” he said in an interview. “It might be wise to go through them one by one just to clarify your situation.”

He added: “The code word today is empowerment—you can use this to improve your own situation.”

SOURCE: BJU International, June 2007.

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