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Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2001 Apr;35(2):97-101.

Emotional isolation: prevalence and the effect on well-being among 50-80-year-old prostate cancer patients.

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Center of Public Health, Stockholm County Council, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.



To investigate to what extent prostate cancer patients confide their emotional concerns, and whether having no one to confide in affects well-being.


A population-based study using epidemiological methods. A questionnaire was mailed to all 431 living prostate cancer patients aged 50-80 at the time of selection, diagnosed 1.5-2 years previously in Stockholm County, and 435 randomly selected men in the same age group. The questionnaire was completed anonymously. The main outcome measures included questions assessing the extent to which the men could share emotionally taxing feelings with their partner or others and questions assessing well-being.


The questionnaire was returned by 79% of the patients and by 73% of the randomly selected men. Approximately one in five patients had no one to confide in. Of patients living with a partner, only one in 10 confided in someone other than their partner. Three out of 10 patients living in a relationship could not confide in their partner. Men having no one to confide in were less content with their life and reported poorer psychological and overall well-being compared with other men. The prostate cancer patients were not more likely to have someone to confide in than men in general.


The results indicate that a lack of emotional support may be a problem for many prostate cancer patients and that the traditional psychosocial support offered to most cancer patients in Sweden may not reach male patients. There may be a need for a gender-adapted approach to emotional support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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