Identifying the factors that affect men’s quality of life while waiting for confirmation of cancer diagnosis: A qualitative study.


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Anna Lynall1,Andy Turner1,Ala Szczepura1,Becky Whiteman1
1Coventry University

Abstract

Background

The early detection of cancer can lead to improved survival, but awaiting confirmation of results or a final diagnosis can be stressful. Men generally have poorer outcomes compared to women, often due to late presentation. Although high levels of distress are well documented there is limited research on what men want and need to effectively self-manage during this stage. It is acknowledged that peer and self management support is beneficial, however research to date has concentrated on the survivorship stage. This study aims to explore how waiting for a final diagnosis impacts on men and their quality of life and the needs of men during this period.

Method

Men were recruited via cancer support groups and community networks across the Midlands. Distribution was supported by Macmillan Cancer Support. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Separate semi-structured focus groups for men and their partners were also recruited. This qualitative study is based on a grounded theory framework.

Results

25 interviews and 2 focus groups (each with 8 participants) were undertaken. The findings identified factors that influence men’s quality of life. These include: perceived accessibility of their social support network and acceptability to disclose experience; having at least one ‘confidant’; perceived control to plan and prepare; risk perception communicated by Healthcare Professionals and trusted peers; an identified ‘outlet’ to release tension and anxiety; and gaining knowledge through credible information and support sources.

Conclusion

This study will allow for a better understanding of the factors which influence men’s quality of life during the early detection stage. It will support the development of an intervention to promote positive psychosocial outcomes for men during the waiting or ongoing surveillance period.