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Everyday life after a radical prostatectomy – A qualitative study of men under 65 years of age

European Journal of Oncology Nursing, October 2017, Volume 30, Pages 107-112

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to illuminate how men under 65 years of age experience their everyday Life one year or more after a radical prostatectomy for localised prostate cancer.

Method

Interviews with 19 men aged under 65 were performed 12–18 months after their radical prostatectomy. The interviews were analysed using a thematic content analysis.

Results

The analysis of the interviews revealed three categories of experiences: ‘Paying a price for survival’, ‘Feeling sidestepped’ and ‘Living with death lurking around the corner’. The side effects of the prostatectomy, such as sexual dysfunction, resulted in a changed self-image with a loss of manliness and reduced self-esteem. The men felt sidestepped and that they did not receive enough support. Prostate cancer was experienced as an embarrassing disease and the men felt their fundamental needs could not be openly discussed. Having cancer was associated with death. Thoughts about death faded away during recovery after the operation, but grew stronger in certain situations and reminded the men about their cancer. Returning to work and to previous activities helped them cope with the thoughts about death.

Conclusions

Our study suggests a need for improved rehabilitation after a radical prostatectomy, including more structured sexual rehabilitation, and involving the partner. Sharing the experiences of other men who have undergone prostate cancer surgery may also be beneficial.

Highlights

 

  • We investigated the experience of prostate cancer surgery in men aged under 65 year.

  • The men felt they had paid a price for survival in the form of side effects, mainly sexual dysfunction.

  • They expressed a feeling of being sidestepped, related to lack of support and attention from the health care and the society.

  • Despite having a good prognosis, thoughts about death had become a part of the men’s life.

  • We identified needs for improved information and rehabilitation, also involving the partner.

 

Keywords: Prostate neoplasm, Radical prostatectomy, Qualitative research, Interview, Quality of life, Daily life, Coping.