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Psychooncology. 2017 Sep;26(9):1336-1346. doi: 10.1002/pon.4147. Epub 2016 May 16.

Intimacy after prostate cancer: A brief couples' workshop is associated with improvements in relationship satisfaction.

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Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Psychosocial & Rehabilitation Oncology, Calgary, AB, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.



Prostate cancer (PCa) treatments often leave men with erectile dysfunction (ED). Even when ED treatments are effective in restoring men's ability to have an erection sufficient for intercourse, couples continue to struggle sexually. Effective treatments to help couples recover sexually are needed.


PCa patients and partners (N = 59 couples) attending a one-time couples' intimacy workshop, participated in an evaluation. The workshop, offered eight times over a 2-year period, emphasized a couples-based approach to treatment that enhances direct communication about sexuality and implementation of sexual recovery strategies that are consistent with the couple's values. Couples completed pre and post questionnaires (at baseline and 2 months later) assessing the primary outcome of relationship adjustment (Revised Dyadic Adjustment Scale) and secondary outcome of sexual function (Sexual Function Questionnaire). T-tests were employed to examine pre-post changes in scores. A small qualitative sub-study was conducted on the use of a Commitment to Change goal-setting exercise, completed during the workshop.


Results provide insight into the specific nature of improvements. Patients and partners showed improvements in relationship satisfaction. Improvements with small-to-medium effect sizes were observed for patients and partners sexual function; however, after adjusting for multiple comparisons, these changes were no longer statistically significant. The specific goals set by couples, and their achievement status, are presented.


The workshop offers a comprehensive, one-session intervention to help couples implement a treatment plan to promote sexual recovery after PCa treatment. Given the observed improvements, progression to a randomized control trial is warranted. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


commitment to change; dyadic coping; erectile dysfunction; prostate cancer; psychosocial oncology; sexual rehabilitation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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