Acceptance of a Pre-Operative Educational Seminar about Urinary and Sexual Recovery After Prostate Cancer Surgery
Background: Education prior to surgery for prostate cancer is critical to help patients understand appropriate expectations for the recovery of urinary and sexual function after surgery. Studies show that men have unrealistic expectations of urinary and sexual outcomes and that men, partners and couples are unhappy long after successful cancer treatment. Yet the complex nature of the recovery of bladder control and sexual function is rarely presented in a typical surgery setting. Based on social workers’ experience with groups and families in oncology, we designed a pre-operative psychoeducational group seminar for men facing prostate cancer surgery and their partners and surveyed survivors’ satisfaction, acceptance and knowledge acquisition. We hypothesized that a group, couple-oriented approach to pre-operative education would provide participants with shared experience and peer support, and facilitate learning.
Methods: This study was designed as post-intervention survey evaluation in a naturalistic setting of a Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program. Men with localized prostate cancer planning surgery as treatment for prostate cancer were eligible for inclusion. Attendees of the pre-operative seminar between February 2011 and April 2012 served as our study sample. The seminar lasts 2 hours and includes educational presentations about topics such as: surgical outcomes, urinary and sexual rehabilitation activities as well as information about post-menopausal sexuality and emotional and sexual work for couples. The presentations are followed by a discussion period. Satisfaction with presentations and group format, acceptance and knowledge acquisition are surveyed at the end of the seminar with a questionnaire developed for the study. Data were analyzed using frequency statistics.
Results: Two hundred and sixteen (216) men, consecutively admitted for surgery for prostate cancer, who attended the pre-operative seminar completed the survey; 76% came with partners. Ninety four percent of participants endorsed being well or very well informed by the presentations, 91% thought a group seminar was a good way of presenting this information, 75% felt comfortable asking questions in a group setting, and 95% found the amount of the information appropriate. After the seminar, 72% of participants understood that urinary leakage occurs frequently after prostatectomy, 69% named Kegel exercises and physical therapy as rehabilitation activities for the recovery of bladder control, 68% could name at least one penile rehabilitation activity, and 67% understood that sexuality would be different after the surgery.
Conclusions: A group seminar that prepares individuals and couples for recovery from the urinary and sexual side-effects of prostate cancer surgery is a satisfactory and acceptable method of pre-operative education. The majority of the participants left the seminar more knowledgeable about what to expect and empowered to participate in the recovery.
Implications for social work practice: Oncology social workers’ family and group treatment skills can make a significant contribution to cancer survivorship care in a multidisciplinary setting. This study provides initial data on the usefulness of this approach to pre-operative education for prostate cancer survivors and could be relevant to other cancer groups.