A new study published in Supportive Care in Cancer evaluated intimate partner violence (IPV) after the diagnosis of cancer. The study was performed by Nesrine Mejri and colleagues from the Abderrahmen Mami Hospital in Ariana, Tunisia.
The authors developed a proprietary questionnaire using the “WHO multi-country questionnaire on violence against women” and “The Women’s Experiences with Battering Scale” for guidance. The cross-sectional study included 141 patients with cancer “regardless of gender, site, or stage,” seen from January-April 2022.
The decision to include men in the study was supported by literature indicating that “although the prevalence of highly injurious IPV victimization of men by women is low, there are men who are victimized by their female partners and suffer ill effects of IPV victimization. Men in relationships with men are also at risk for IPV victimization and the adverse health consequences of victimization.”
Of the 141 patients included in Mejri’s study (mean age, 50 years old; 38.3% male), 24.8% experienced some form of IPV after cancer diagnosis.
“The most common forms of violence were placing severe restriction on certain types of food and clothing in 21%, psychological violence in 20%, exposing intimate information about the patient health status to others in 17%, ignoration in 13.5%, putting restrictions on visiting friends or families in 9.2%, verbal assault in 9.2%, physical violence in 7.9%, and 7.1% racist conducts,” the authors stated.
Financial violence, another form of IPV listed on the questionnaire, did occur, but it was rare and was only reported by 4.3% of participants.
One surprising finding was that there was no difference in the incidence of IPV between the male and female study participants.
Factors that correlated significantly with IPV prevalence included disease stage, patient education level, and ongoing treatment status.