Individual differences |
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Population based research indicates that one in five middle-aged and elderly men (50-80 years) are emotionally isolated (defined as having no-one to confide in). Of those who do have someone to confide in eight out of ten confide only in their partner. Men having no one to confide in are less likely to feel alert and strong, calm, energetic and happy. Instead, they are more likely to feel depressed, sad, tired and worn out.
In a Swedish study approximately one in four prostate cancer patients were found to be emotionally isolated despite of widely available psycho-social support offered to cancer patients in Sweden. That emotional isolation was found to be at least as prevalent in male cancer patients as among men in general indicates that psycho-social support in its present form may not get through to men.
This is of great concern since many prostate cancer patients live under emotional stress owing to the cancer and its treatment including waning sexual function and urinary and bowel symptoms. Additionally, prostate cancer patients are faced with a stressful “patient trade-off” choosing between different treatment options or living with the cancer to avoid stressful treatment side-effects.
Helgason ÁR, Adolfsson J, Dickman P, Fredrikson M, Arver S, Steineck G. Waning sexual function - the most important disease-specific distress for patients with prostate cancer. Br. J. Cancer. 1996: 73: 1417-1421.
Helgason ÁR, Adolfsson J, Dickman P, Fredrikson M, Steineck G. Distress due to unwanted side-effects of prostate cancer treatment is related to impaired well-being (quality of life). Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 1998: 1:128-133.