OBJECTIVE: The number of younger men being diagnosed with prostate cancer (PCa; aged ≤65) is increasing. It is recognised that PCa and treatment side effects can have a significant impact on quality of life. This study explores the challenges faced by younger couples affected by PCa with dependent children (under 18 years) or young adults (18-29 years) in their families.
METHODS: Twenty-three men with PCa and their partners were interviewed (separately) by telephone. Participants were recruited from respondents to the life after prostate cancer diagnosis (LAPCD) national survey. Men were 3 to 5 years postdiagnosis, and following a range of treatment pathways. Data were analysed using the Framework Approach.
RESULTS: Younger couples affected by PCa felt challenged by issues relating to their parental role and the dynamics within the family. Five main themes emerged: difficult conversations about PCa diagnosis; parental perceptions of the impact of diagnosis on children; parental responses to the impact of PCa on the family; shielding, coping, and normalising strategies; and levels of support.
CONCLUSIONS: A diagnosis of PCa can cause significant disruption to the family unit and the quality of life of its members. Support programmes offering guidance to children/young adults affected by PCa in their family, and addressing the concerns of parents may help families to better adapt. Encouraging clinical professionals to initiate conversations with younger couples about their children may be a way forward in directing appropriate support. Further research is needed to elucidate appropriate, effective supportive interventions.
Bibliographical note© 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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- School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences - Clinical Professor
- Centre for Public Health