ProsCan for Couples: Randomised controlled trial of a couples-based sexuality intervention for men with localised prostate cancer who receive radical prostatectomy

Suzanne K. Chambers, Leslie Schover, Kim Halford, Samantha Clutton, Megan Ferguson, Louisa Gordon, R. A. Gardiner, Stefano Occhipinti, Jeff Dunn

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the Western world. The most substantial long term morbidity from this cancer is sexual dysfunction with consequent adverse changes in couple and intimate relationships. Research to date has not identified an effective way to improve sexual and psychosocial adjustment for both men with prostate cancer and their partners. As well, the efficacy and cost effectiveness of peer counselling as opposed to professional models of service delivery has not yet been empirically tested. This paper presents the design of a three arm randomised controlled trial (peer vs. nurse counselling vs. usual care) that will evaluate the efficacy of two couples-based sexuality interventions (ProsCan for Couples: Peer support vs. nurse counselling) on men's and women's sexual and psychosocial adjustment after surgical treatment for localised prostate cancer; in addition to cost-effectiveness. Methods/design: Seventy couples per condition (210 couples in total) will be recruited after diagnosis and before treatment through urology private practices and hospital outpatient clinics and randomised to (1) usual care; (2) eight sessions of peer-delivered telephone support with DVD education; and (3) eight sessions of oncology nurse-delivered telephone counselling with DVD education. Two intervention sessions will be delivered before surgery and six over the six months post-surgery. The intervention will utilise a cognitive behavioural approach along with couple relationship education focussed on relationship enhancement and helping the couple to conjointly manage the stresses of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Participants will be assessed at baseline (before surgery) and 3, 6 and 12 months post-surgery. Outcome measures include: Sexual adjustment; unmet sexuality supportive care needs; attitudes to sexual help seeking; psychological adjustment; benefit finding and quality of life. Discussion: The study will provide recommendations about the efficacy of peer support vs. nurse counselling to facilitate better sexual and couple adjustment after prostate cancer as well as recommendations on whether the interventions represent efficient health service delivery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number226
JournalBMC Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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