Journal Article

The challenges on the family unit faced by younger couples affected by prostate cancer: A qualitative study


Objective. The number of younger men being diagnosed with Prostate cancer (PCa), (aged ≤ 65) is increasing. It is recognised that PCa and treatment side effects can have a significant impact on quality of life. This study explores the challenges faced by younger couples affected by PCa with dependent children (under 18 years) or young adults (18-29 years) in their families. Methods. Twenty-three men with PCa and their partners were interviewed (separately) by telephone. Participants were recruited from respondents to the Life After Prostate Cancer Diagnosis (LAPCD) national survey. Men were three to five years post-diagnosis, and following a range of treatment pathways. Data were analysed using the Framework approach. Results. Younger couples affected by PCa felt challenged by issues relating to their parental role and the dynamics within the family. Five main themes emerged: difficult conversations about PCa diagnosis; parental perceptions of the impact of diagnosis on children; parental responses to the impact of PCa on the family; shielding, coping and normalising strategies; and levels of support. Conclusions. A diagnosis of PCa can cause significant disruption to the family unit and the quality of life of its members. Support programmes offering guidance to children/young adults affected by PCa in their family, and addressing the concerns of parents may help families to better adapt. Encouraging clinical professionals to initiate conversations with younger couples about their children may be a way forward in directing appropriate support. Further research is needed to elucidate appropriate, effective supportive interventions.

Attached files


Collaço, Nicole
Wagland, Richard
Alexis, Obrey
Gavin, Anna
Glaser, Adam
Watson, Eila K.

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Oxford School of Nursing and Midwifery\Department of Nursing


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-12-13

All rights reserved.

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