Consider the “whole-man” when treating prostate cancer

Consider the “whole-man” when treating prostate cancer
19 April 2010 pulse

Consider the “whole-man” when treating prostate cancer

Too little time spent discussing emotional and sexual impact, says new survey

Barcelona, Spain – 9 April, 2010 –

Healthcare professionals need to consider the impact of prostate cancer on the ‘whole man’ rather than focusing on cancer treatment in isolation, according to results from an international survey of prostate cancer patients and their partners.

Results from the ‘Man-Aging Prostate Cancer’ survey commissioned by prostate cancer specialist company Ferring Pharmaceuticals also reveal that patients need better information about the range of treatment regimens available and how these treatments can impact quality of life. The results showed that:

    • 34% of patients surveyed did not feel sufficiently informed to be able to play a role in their treatment decisions
    • 34% of patients surveyed were ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘not very satisfied’ with the level of information available to them in the months following diagnosis

“One of the most important findings of this survey is that there is a clear need for more resources to help support a man emotionally through prostate cancer”, said Gunter Feick, Chairman of the German patient association Bundesverband Prostatakrebs Selbsthilfe e. V. (BPS). “This is very important, since the majority of men polled (78%) felt that their sex life had been negatively affected by prostate cancer.”

The survey – an on-line questionnaire which enrolled 624 men with prostate cancer from eight countries (France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA) – found that the emotional impact of prostate cancer was rarely discussed during consultations (66% of men said ‘not discussed’) and that more than half (57%) of patients felt they were not provided with adequate emotional support following their diagnosis.

“As opposed to women, it is well documented that men do not employ as many coping devices to deflect their thoughts away from their pain. While women distract themselves with activities, express their feelings to friends and even pray, men generally tend to face their problems alone. This research has highlighted the need for healthcare professionals to provide enhanced emotional support as men navigate their way through the emotional and sexual challenges of prostate cancer”, commented counselling psychologist, Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

    • 56% of patients and 53% of partners would have liked a healthcare professional to spend more time discussing the impact of prostate cancer and its treatment of their sex life
    • 65% of partners would have liked more information on how to discuss the potential effects of prostate cancer on their sex life with their husband/partner

“The results of this survey clearly highlight that we as healthcare professionals need to both help men make the right treatment decision and support them emotionally through prostate cancer”, said Bertrand Tombal, Professor and Chairman of Urology Service d’Urologie, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Brussels, Belgium. “It is important that doctors spend time discussing with patients the benefits of treatment as well as the management of side-effects to achieve the best quality of life possible for each individual patient.”

The survey revealed strong support for patient groups; the vast majority of men (90%) felt that it would have been useful to have a ‘buddy’ with experience of prostate cancer to whom they could talk and ask questions.

Worldwide, more than 670,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year1 and there are approximately two million men living with this condition in Europe.2 Incidence and prevalence rates vary widely around the world, with by far the highest rates in North America and Northern and Western Europe.3


*Producto autorizado por la EMA, no disponible en el mercado español, pendiente de la decisión administrativa sobre el precio y el reembolso.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

About Prostate Cancer

To learn more about prostate cancer and Firmagon, please visit

About Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Ferring is a Swiss-headquartered, research driven, speciality biopharmaceutical group that has recently launched the fast-acting GnRH blocker Firmagon® (degarelix)* for the hormonal treatment of advanced prostate cancer. Ferring identifies, develops and markets innovative products in the areas of urology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gynaecology, and fertility. In recent years Ferring has expanded beyond its traditional European base and now has offices in over 40 countries. To learn more about Ferring or our products please visit

For more information, please contact

Sarah Stanmore
Tonic Life Communications
+44 207 798 9906


    1. Cancer research UK.
    3. M. Quinn and P. Babb. Patterns and trends in prostate cancer incidence, survival, prevalence and mortality. Part I: international comparisons. 2002. BJU International. Volume 90: Issue 2; Pages 162 -173.

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