An exploration of well-being in men diagnosed with prostate cancer under active surveillance: a qualitative study

This article was originally published here

Cancer Care Support. 2022 Mar 19. doi: 10.1007/s00520-022-06976-w. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: There is increasing emphasis on improving the quality of life of people with prostate cancer. However, those under active surveillance remain underrepresented in the literature and know less about their unique challenges. Therefore, we sought to explore their lived experiences after diagnosis and their effects on their mental, social and physical well-being.

METHODS: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 men under active surveillance for low-risk disease. Thematic analysis was used to inductively co-construct themes through the prism of the biopsychosocial model.

RESULTS: Mental well-being was strongly affected in our participants due to the overwhelming emotional impact of their diagnosis, resulting in ’emotional diagnostic imbalance’. Outreach to information and education about prostate cancer has helped patients “recognize the impact”. Patients have experienced a ‘troublesome monitoring cycle’ due to heightened fear and anxiety related to PSA monitoring appointments, with some men unaware of their mental wellness needs as their disease is “a future problem”. ‘Diagnosis concealment’ left many people feeling isolated and highlighted an important coping mechanism in the ‘Importance of a social support network’ theme. Finally, physical health changed primarily through changes in health behaviors, leading to “a healthier lifestyle” with an increasing attribution of physical symptoms to age through “symptomatic eclipse”.

CONCLUSION: The greatest impact of disease on men’s well-being was at diagnosis, with subsequent cyclical anxiety and fear of disease progression predominating around monitoring appointments. Future research should explore ways to better support patients facing these issues and, at these times, improve their quality of life.

PMID:35304633 | DOI:10.1007/s00520-022-06976-w

About Alma Ackerman

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