The impact of prostate cancer on men's everyday life

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Abstract

Prostate cancer impacts on the daily lives of men, particularly their physical and emotional health, relationships and social life. This paper highlights how men cope with disease and treatment and the strategies they employ to manage their diagnosis alongside daily life. Twenty-seven men were interviewed at different stages in their disease pathway: nine men prior to radiotherapy, eight men at 6–8 months post radiotherapy and 10 men at 12–18 months post radiotherapy. A grounded theory approach was used to collect and analyse the data. Regardless of the point at which they were interviewed four areas emerged as important to the men: the pathway to diagnosis; the diagnosis; the impact of prostate cancer and its treatment on daily life; and living with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer was diagnosed using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, rectal examination and biopsy. Many men did not understand the consequences of a high PSA reading before they undertook the test. Painful investigative biopsies were viewed as the worst part of the disease experience. Radiotherapy was considered less invasive than other treatments, although preparatory regimes were associated with stress and inconvenience. Men used various strategies to deal with treatment-induced threats to their masculinity in the long term.

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