Health Disparities and Cancer Survivorship
Grant #: P30 CA14236-S1
PI: Oliver, Colvin
Project Leader: Keefe, Francis
Title: Partner-Assisted Coping Skills Training for Prostate Cancer Survivors
Urinary incontinence, bowel difficulties, hormonal symptoms, and sexual problems are major concerns of prostate cancer survivors and their partners. The focus in management of such symptoms traditionally has been on the patient. Studies of prostate cancer patients and their partners, however, have documented that the impact of prostate cancer on patient's spouses/partners can be profound. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop more effective ways to-help patients and their partners, cope with problems and challenges experienced by prostate cancer patients. The proposed study evaluates the efficacy of a new, partner-assisted coping skills training protocol for prostate cancer patients and their partners. This research builds upon our prior research by: 1) extending a partner assisted coping skills training protocol we have found effective in arthritis patients to a new population (prostate cancer patients), 3) adapting the coping skills training protocol to meet the needs of an underserved, minority population (African-American men with prostate cancer), and 3) using an innovative, telephone-based coping skills training format that is more accessible and less costly than traditional clinic-based treatment. In this study, African American patients who have completed treatment for prostate cancer and their partners will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions: 1) partner-assisted CST, or 2) usual care. The partner-assisted CST protocol focuses on three goals: 1) providing information about prostate cancer and its long-term side effects 2) teaching problem solving skills, and 3) training in cognitive-behavioral coping skills (i.e. communication skills, relaxation training, activity-rest cycling, and cognitive restructuring.) The partner-assisted CST will be delivered in 6, 45- minute telephone-based sessions. Patients in the usual care condition will participate in routine care, but will not receive partner-assisted CST. Measures collected before and after treatment will assess changes in urinary, bowel, and hormonal symptoms and changes in satisfaction with sex life and mental and physical functioning. If we find that a novel telephone-based, partner-assisted CST protocol is effective for underserved, African-American survivors of prostate cancer, future studies could evaluate this training in underserved, populations suffering from other types of cancer or chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis or sickle cell disease. This study also will reveal how individual differences in self-efficacy are related to long-term improvements in quality of life. This may make it possible to identify prostate cancer patients who are likely to respond well or poorly to CST.