A Qualitative Exploration of Prostate Cancer Survivors Experiencing Psychological Distress: Loss of Self, Function, Connection, and Control

Lauren Matheson

Johana Nayoan

Carol Rivas

Jo Brett

Penny Wright

Hugh Butcher

Anna Gavin

Adam Glaser

Eila Watson

Richard Wagland

patient experience, distress, prostate cancer, psychological, qualitative, health care
ONF 2020, 47(3), 318-330. DOI: 10.1188/20.ONF.318-330

Purpose: To explore the experiences of men with prostate cancer identified as having psychological distress and to identify factors influencing distress.

Participants & Setting: 28 men with prostate cancer diagnosed 18–42 months earlier, identified as having psychological distress on survey measures.

Methodologic Approach: Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis using a framework approach was used.

Findings: Men with psychological distress had strong perceptions of loss toward self (identity, sexuality/masculinity, self-confidence), function (physical activities), connection (relational, social, community), and control (future, emotional). Psychological vulnerability appeared heightened in particular groups of men. Maladaptive strategies of emotional concealment, help-seeking avoidance, and withdrawal appeared to contribute to distress.

Implications for Nursing: Distress in men with prostate cancer is multifaceted. Men with distress should be identified and offered support. Nurse- or peer-led interventions are required.

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