Monday, November 5, 2007

This presentation is part of : Cancer Care Issues
Living with a Partner with Prostate Cancer
Margaret Laccetti, PhD, RN, AOCN, Adult Health, Boston College Wm. F. Connell School of Nursing, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA
Learning Objective #1: identify common themes and experiences of living with a partner who has prostate cancer.
Learning Objective #2: discuss how these experiences inform opportunities to design nursing interventions to promote information sharing, communication,and anxiety reduction.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men. Although much research has addressed patient and couple/dyad issues, including a variety of psychosocial interventions aimed at promoting quality of life, coping, social support, and self esteem, and managing symptoms, less has been done to identify problems and interventions for the partners of these patients. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of women living with a spouse with prostate cancer, identifying themes and common experiences delineating concerns or problems amenable to intervention. The planned trajectory of this research is to use qualitative methods to determine, define and explore these experiences, to develop tools to more efficiently examine them in larger samples, enabling identification of common problems potentially responsive to intervention, with a final research goal of developing and testing intervention techniques. This study, based in phenomenology, utilized the pure description of the participants, the structure and content of encounters, to identify unifying themes and experiences that may indicate potentials for nursing intervention. Six participants, all spouses of men with prostate cancer, were identified through advertising or solicitation in the community or word of mouth. All of their husbands are currently alive, and well, with no metastatic activity evident. All data was transcribed to computer text for review by the principal investigator to identify common thematic experiences and problems. Findings initially support common and specific themes, including issues with inconsistent information, decision making, 'it's not my body', and the ambivalence of a living with a cancer diagnosis. This information indicates opportunities for nursing interventions such as providing information, counseling, coaching and anxiety reduction.