Quality of life and stress response symptoms in long-term and recent spouses of testicular cancer survivors


      The aim of this study was to gain insight into the quality of life (QoL) and stress response of female spouses of men cured of testicular cancer in the long-term. Time since treatment completion varied from 0.5 to 23.8 years. Two hundred and fifty nine testicular cancer survivors and their spouses completed the Dutch version of the MOS Short Form (SF)-36 and the Impact of Event Scale. QoL data from a reference group of women were used for comparison. Spouses who had relationship with the testicular cancer survivor before the diagnosis (spouses during testicular cancer) had better functioning scores than the reference group, especially with respect to the physical QoL domains. Spouses who had started a relationship after treatment (spouses after testicular cancer) experienced more problems with psychological QoL domains than spouses during testicular cancer and than the reference group. The stress response of spouses during testicular cancer was related to that of the testicular cancer survivors and to the extent of treatment they had received. Although stress response levels were low, spouses during testicular cancer reported more stress response than the testicular cancer survivors. Time since completion of treatment did not affect QoL or stress response. This study showed that spouses during testicular cancer had a good QoL and little stress response. Functioning of spouses after testicular cancer was poorer with respect to various QoL domains, particularly the psychological measures.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to European Journal of Cancer
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Visser O, Coebergh JWW, Dijck JAAMv, Siesling S. Trends of cancer in the Netherlands 1989–1998. Association of Comprehensive Cancer Centres; 2002

        • Shelley M.D.
        • Burgon K.
        • Mason M.D.
        Treatment of testicular germ-cell cancer: a cochrane evidence-based systematic review.
        Cancer Treat. Rev. 2002; 28: 237-253
        • Baider L.
        • Kaplan De-Nour A.
        Adjustment to cancer: who is the patient–the husband or the wife.
        Isr. J. Med. Sci. 1988; 24: 631-636
        • Pitceathly C.
        • Maguire P.
        The psychological impact of cancer on patients' partners and other key relatives: a review.
        Eur. J. Cancer. 2003; 39: 1517-1524
        • Baider L.
        • Koch U.
        • Esacson R.
        • De Nour A.K.
        Prospective study of cancer patients and their spouses: the weakness of marital strength.
        Psychooncology. 1998; 7: 49-56
        • Northouse L.L.
        • Templin T.
        • Mood D.
        • Oberst M.
        Couples' adjustment to breast cancer and benign breast disease: a longitudinal analysis.
        Psychooncology. 1998; 7: 37-48
        • Rait D.
        • Lederberg M.
        The family of the cancer patient.
        in: Holland J.C. Rowland J.H. Handbook of psychooncology. Oxford University Press, New York1990: 585-597
      2. Glasdam S, Jensen ABMEL, Rose C. Anxiety and depression in cancer patients' spouses. Psychooncology. New York: Wiley; 1996, vol. 5, p. 23–9

        • Hagedoorn M.
        • Buunk B.P.
        • Kuijer R.G.
        • Wobbes T.
        • Sanderman R.
        Couples dealing with cancer: role and gender differences regarding psychological distress and quality of life.
        Psychooncology. 2000; 9: 232-242
        • Keller M.
        • Henrich G.
        • Sellschopp A.
        • Beutel M.
        Between distress and support: spouses of cancer patients.
        in: Baider L. Cooper C.L. Kaplan De-Nour A. Cancer and the family. Wiley, New York1996: 187-223
        • Baider L.
        • Kaufman B.
        • Peretz T.
        • Manor O.
        • Ever-Hadani P.
        • Kaplan De-Nour A.
        Mutuality of fate: adaptation and psychological distress in cancer patients and their partners.
        in: Baider L. Cooper C.L. Kaplan De-Nour A. Cancer and the family. Wiley, New York1996: 173-185
        • Peleg-Oren N.
        • Sherer M.
        Cancer patients and their spouses: gender and its effect on psychological and social adjustment.
        J. Health Psychol. 2001; 6: 329-338
        • Ell K.
        • Nishimoto R.
        • Mediansky L.
        • Mantell J.
        • Hamovitch M.
        Social relations, social support and survival among patients with cancer.
        J. Psychosom. Res. 1992; 36: 531-541
        • Sandén I.
        • Hydén L.C.
        How everyday life is affected: an interview study of relatives of men suffering from testicular cancer.
        J. Psychosoc. Oncol. 2002; 20: 27-44
      3. Zee KI vd, Sanderman R. The measurement of generic health with the RAND-36. Northern Centre for Healthcare Research; 1993. Available from: <>

        • Ware Jr., J.E.
        • Sherbourne C.D.
        The MOS 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36). I. Conceptual framework and item selection.
        Med. Care. 1992; 30: 473-483
        • Horowitz M.
        • Wilner N.
        • Alvarez W.
        Impact of Event Scale: a measure of subjective stress.
        Psychosom. Med. 1979; 41: 209-218
        • Ploeg vd E.
        • Mooren T.T.M.
        • Kleber R.J.
        • Velden vd P.G.
        • Brom D.
        Construct validation of the Dutch version of the impact of event scale.
        Psychological Assessment. 2004; 16: 16-26
        • Gurevich M.
        • Devins G.M.
        • Rodin G.M.
        Stress response syndromes and cancer: conceptual and assessment issues.
        Psychosomatics. 2002; 43: 259-281
        • Conger R.D.
        • Lorenz F.O.
        • Elder Jr., G.H.
        • Simons R.L.
        • Ge X.
        Husband and wife differences in response to undesirable life events.
        J. Health Soc. Behav. 1993; 34: 71-88
        • Houts R.M.
        • Robins E.
        • Huston T.L.
        Compatibility and the development of premarital relationships.
        J. Marriage Fam. 1996; 58: 7-20
        • Vaughn D.J.
        • Gignac G.A.
        • Meadows A.T.
        Long-term medical care of testicular cancer survivors.
        Ann. Intern. Med. 2002; 136: 463-470
        • Hagedoorn M.
        • Tuinstra J.
        Living together with cancer. The emotional well-being of patients and their partners.
        Gedrag. en Gezondheid (Behav. Health). 2003; 30: 193-203
        • Kornblith A.B.
        • Herr H.W.
        • Ofman U.S.
        • Scher H.I.
        • Holland J.C.
        Quality of life of patients with prostate cancer and their spouses. The value of a data base in clinical care.
        Cancer. 1994; 73: 2791-2802
        • Vickery L.E.
        • Latchford G.
        • Hewison J.
        • Bellew M.
        • Feber T.
        The impact of head and neck cancer and facial disfigurement on the quality of life of patients and their partners.
        Head Neck. 2003; 25: 289-296
        • Northouse L.L.
        • Mood D.
        • Templin T.
        • Mellon S.
        • George T.
        Couples' patterns of adjustment to colon cancer.
        Soc. Sci. Med. 2000; 50: 271-284