Making sense of symptoms in men with prostate cancer: a longitudinal qualitative exploration

Lisa Brunton, Jane Booker, Alex Molassiotis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the UK, prostate cancer is now the most common cancer in men. Treatments for prostate cancer areassociated with short-term and long-term side effects. Previous research in this area has mainly concentratedon symptom severity in relation to quality of life and has been largely quantitative in nature. The aim of thisresearch study was to explore the perception and meaning of symptoms experienced by men with prostatecancer, from the patients’ perspective. Ten men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer, undergoing treatment,were interviewed four times over 1 year. Interviews were analysed using an analytic framework underpinnedby the common sense model. The men tended to minimize their symptom experience and cancer diagnosesover all four interviews. They were less likely to minimize symptoms if they believed their symptoms might bedue to disease progression. Men appeared passive in their care and reluctant to ask questions; they did notappear to understand post-treatment follow-up procedures and this led to feelings of abandonment. This studyis one of the only studies to explore how men perceive, appraise and manage symptoms related to prostatecancer over the first year after diagnosis. This may help health professionals when planning interventions andservices for men with prostate cancer. Passivity in care appeared related to information deficits; patients needto be empowered to become active partners in their care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Urological Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Prostate cancer
  • Qualitative longitudinal research
  • Symptom experience


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