An exploration of treatment decision making and psychological wellbeing of men with prostate cancer

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Cunningham, Margaret
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University College Cork
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This study aimed to explore the experiences of men with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men globally, and the most common invasive cancer in Ireland (National Cancer Registry Ireland, 2018; Rawla, 2019). A considerable amount of research has been conducted looking at various psychological aspects of diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. However, the profile of both the epidemiology and treatment of prostate cancer is constantly changing. In particular, the incidence of younger men (under age 55 years) being diagnosed with prostate cancer has risen sharply in recent years due to increases in screening for prostate cancer. Another consequence of the rise in screening, has been concerns about over-treatment of prostate cancer, and guideline recommendations to manage cases of localised prostate cancer with Active Surveillance. Although a number of studies have explored aspects of men’s decision making around Active Surveillance, no systematic review of qualitative studies had been conducted. Systematic reviews of qualitative studies can provide evidence to inform policy and practice, and guide intervention development. Therefore, a systematic review of qualitative studies was conducted to address the question ‘What factors influence the decision-making process of men with localised prostate cancer when considering Active Surveillance?’. There is a lack of literature pertaining to younger men’s experiences of prostate cancer. Research into men’s experiences of prostate cancer to date 2 have mainly been conducted with samples of older men. Quantitative research including samples of both older and younger men with prostate cancer found that younger age was a predictor of longer term distress in men with prostate cancer (Chambers et al., 2017). Specific interventions may benefit younger men in their prostate cancer journey to help alleviate distress. Guidance on developing interventions to improve health and healthcare suggest that all intervention development should start with understanding the problem, identifying needs, and identifying factors which are potentially modifiable (O’Cathain et al., 2019). Qualitative research is exploratory, and can provide a rich understanding of a phenomenon. A qualitative interview study was therefore conducted to explore the experiences of younger men with prostate cancer, in particular exploring the psychological impact of prostate cancer on younger men, and identifying unmet supportive care needs.
Prostate cancer , Decision making , Cancer experience
Cunningham, M. 2021. An exploration of treatment decision making and psychological wellbeing of men with prostate cancer. DClinPsych Thesis, University College Cork.
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