This is an older men's world: A qualitative study of men's experiences with prostate cancer

I. B. Birgit van Ee*, M. Mariet Hagedoorn, C. H. M. Carolien Smits, A. M. Ad Kamper, H. A. Aafke Honkoop, J. P. J. Joris Slaets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Prostate cancer is highly prevalent and invasive among older men. Not knowing their experiences hampers care and support to men with prostate cancer and prostate cancer survivors. This study aims to provide insight into older men's experiences with prostate cancer in order to improve personalised care.

Methods: A qualitative research design through semi-structured interviews with 22 older men with prostate cancer was conducted in two areas of the Netherlands in 2015. Patients were selected through systematic non-probabilistic sampling. The transcripts were analysed with conventional content analysis and affinity diagramming.

Results: Four themes emerged from the data: impact of prostate cancer, dealing with prostate cancer and treatment, involvement of and with others, and experiences with professional care and the care trajectory. The way patients dealt with prostate cancer and their experiences with the care they received varied. Overall, hospital care was rated positively, and communication was a crucial determinant of the patient's satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Some patients lacked information about their health status, which may have influenced decision-making processes. Some were reluctant to talk about their disease with other people and sometimes hesitated to ask for help.

Conclusion: Despite many positive care experiences, some patients felt that the communication, information provision and decision-making were inadequate. Vulnerable patients with severe complications or limited social support may need additional psychosocial care. Lowering the threshold for patients to ask for help and the availability of a professional with expert knowledge about prostate cancer and ageing may decrease unnecessary hardship and increase personal strengths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2018


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