Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the individual quality of life (QoL) of men following radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. The following research questions were addressed: (a) What are the most important areas of quality of life for men following radical prostatectomy? (b) How do these men rate their satisfaction in each area and what is the relative importance of each area to their overall quality of life?
Methods: The purposive sample consisted of 11 men with prostate cancer who had undergone a radical prostatectomy 3 to 4 months earlier. QoL was examined using the SEIQoL-DW (Schedule for the Evaluation of Individual QoL: A Direct Weighting Procedure). The data were analyzed by means of qualitative content analysis (five most important QoL areas).
Findings: The 11 respondents named a total of 55 QoL areas which they described and labelled. They then rated their current satisfaction in each area, and how important each one was to them. A second analysis of the content was made to identify the main QoL areas. The 55 quality of life areas mentioned by respondents were reduced to the following categories: health, activity, family, relationship with a partner, autonomy, independence, hobby, financial security, and sexuality. Health, family, and relationship with a partner are the thee areas which had the most impact on QoL. Overall, the respondents had a high quality of life value. Impotence and incontinence did not appear to have a very negative impact on quality of life.
Conclusions: SEIQoL-DW was used for the first time in patients with prostate cancer. In a urology department where nurses and patients are confronted daily with the topics of intimacy, sexuality, and sense of embarrassment, more importance should be placed on the topic of sexuality when taking a patient history. Nurses should be trained in communication techniques that enable them to engage patients in a safe and therapeutic dialogue about their sexual concerns related to the diagnosis of prostate cancer. SEIQoL-DW can support the communication with patients.