Living with untreated localized prostate cancer: a qualitative analysis of patient narratives

Cancer Nurs. 2003 Feb;26(1):55-60. doi: 10.1097/00002820-200302000-00008.


Few, if any, qualitative studies aimed at gaining an understanding of the experience of patients with prostate cancer have been done. The purpose of this study was to illuminate the meaning of being a patient living with untreated localized prostate cancer. Seven men with untreated localized prostate cancer were interviewed in their homes. The interviews were tape recorded and transcribed into text. The text was analyzed using a phenomenologic-hermeneutic approach inspired by Ricoeur's philosophy. The meaning of living with untreated localized prostate cancer could be interpreted as living life under a dark shadow. The disease was described as a threat to the patient's life. When living under this shadow, many of the men studied had an ambivalent wish both to share their experience with others and to be alone with their experiences of the disease. They believed that the disease had changed their lives, and their manhood was restricted by sexual dysfunctions and described as a burden. They used various coping strategies to manage this situation. Despite a positive relationship with their physicians, there is a risk that these patients will not be given the attention they need because of their good prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Fear
  • Gender Identity
  • Grief
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / complications
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Isolation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden