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Urol Oncol. 2006 Jul-Aug;24(4):279-86.

Self-esteem, social support, and mental health in survivors of testicular cancer: a comparison based on relationship status.

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Department of Surgical Oncology, University of Groningen and University Medical Center, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Testicular cancer is the most frequent malignancy in men between 20 and 40 years of age. This is a period in life in which important life events take place, such as starting a career and establishing a relationship. The goal of the study was to explore self-esteem, social support, and mental health in 3 groups of survivors of testicular cancer: singles, those with the same partner as at diagnosis (relationship during testicular cancer), and those with a partner they met after completion of treatment (relationship after testicular cancer). A total of 129 survivors completed the Social Support List, the Rosenberg self-esteem scale, and the subscale mental health of the RAND-36. Mean time since diagnosis for single survivors was 8.3 years (range 1-23), for survivors with a relationship during testicular cancer 9.3 years (range 1-24), and for survivors with a relationship after testicular cancer 13.6 years (range 1-24). Levels of social support were equal in groups, but satisfaction with support was not. Survivors with a relationship during testicular cancer were most satisfied with support, and had the highest self-esteem and mental health. Survivors with a relationship after testicular cancer reported the next best levels of functioning but had the same mental health as singles. Singles and survivors with a relationship established after testicular cancer had a lower mental health than a reference group of men. The difference in self-esteem between singles and survivors of testicular cancer with a relationship during testicular cancer appeared most distinct and was clinically relevant. Mental health was predicted by different factors for the 3 groups. Being single at diagnosis seems to cause a vulnerability that remains when survivors do develop a relationship after treatment is completed because these groups are at risk for a lower mental health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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