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Pan-European survey reveals only 14% of healthcare professionals feel adequately equipped to address prostate cancer patients’ quality of life issues

A new report entitled Prostate Cancer: Living, not Just Surviving, details the findings from a large pan- European survey of 765 prostate cancer patients, 335 caregivers and 400 healthcare professionals, reveals that only 14 per cent of healthcare professionals feel that they have sufficient resources to address quality of life issues, such as fatigue, pain and intimacy problems.1

Developed by Janssen in collaboration with pan-European and national patient associations, the survey reveals that for the patients who experience chronic physical effects from the disease, fatigue (66%) has the biggest negative impact compared to disability and pain (41% and 22% respectively), particularly in metastatic patients (93%) and patients on medication such as hormone treatment, chemotherapy and steroids (83%). Almost half of all men with prostate cancer surveyed (n=765) state that they are so tired, they no longer feel able to exercise and 74 per cent of this group say that this has had a negative effect on them emotionally.1

It also suggests that men with prostate cancer worry more about quality of life issues associated with their disease, such as intimacy problems (54%) and feeling ill (41%), than dying (36%).1

Professor Louis Denis, Onco-Urologist and Strategic Consultant, The European Prostate Cancer Coalition (Europa Uomo) said: “Prostate cancer is increasingly considered to be a chronic illness, as many men with the disease are now living longer. This opens up a new challenge for healthcare professionals, and the patients themselves, to place just as much focus on managing quality of life issues as they do on addressing survival.” “Patient advocacy groups, such as The European Prostate Cancer Coalition (Europa Uomo), can play an important role in supporting prostate cancer patients who are struggling emotionally and physically with their disease by providing the right up-to-date information on managing quality of life issues. They can also act as an avenue for patients and caregivers to connect and share their experiences with others who are living with the disease.”

The report reveals that almost all healthcare professionals (92%) surveyed believe that they proactively provide advice to patients on ways to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing. Conversely, only 14% of patients can recall their doctor advising them on ways to improve their physical and emotional well-being, aside from using medication.1

Dr Maria De Santis, Cancer Research Unit, University of Warwick, UK, said: “Communication is key. We hope that by having a greater understanding of the everyday individual experiences of patients and their caregivers, we, as healthcare professionals, may be able to tailor the way we manage the disease to provide a more personalised and holistic approach to care.”

She continued: “Managing quality of life is extremely important in the overall process of caring for a patient with prostate cancer. However, many different methods of measuring quality of life exist, and healthcare professionals may not always be trained in or even be aware of these methods. Healthcare professionals may therefore benefit from a single, simple, internationally-recognised quality of life measure to provide a consistent way to identify each patient’s needs.”

Jane Griffiths, Company Group Chairman, Janssen Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said: “At Janssen we know that effective prostate cancer management goes beyond the provision of life-prolonging medicines. As prostate cancer is increasingly becoming a long-term and chronic disease, it is important that we work together to support men and their families to manage the quality of life issues related to the disease.” “We hope that by shedding light on the experiences of patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals in Europe, this report will improve our understanding of how emotional, social issues and physical problems related to prostate cancer can be more effectively addressed through tailored personalised care.”

The latest prostate cancer figures show that there are currently three million men living with the disease in Europe2 and that the number is continuing to rise, with an increase of over 150% over the past decade (1999 – 2012).3,4 Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, with over 400,000 new cases diagnosed in Europe per year.3

The pan-European survey was carried out in ten countries across Europe by the independent research company, InSites Consulting. The Prostate Cancer: Living, not Just Surviving report can be viewed online at: http://www.janssen-emea.com/hpc/reports/Living-prostate-cancer.