In a study performed in the UK researchers explored how men with advanced prostate cancer support their personal well being. The study analyzed the practices used by five (5) men with advanced prostate cancer to maintain their emotional wellbeing.
Information about the men’s individual practices was taken from face-to-face, semi-structured, in-depth interviews with the five subjects. The interviews provided the researchers with rich narratives of lost and regained wellbeing. The researchers found that two superordinate themes emerged – ‘living with an imminent and uncertain death’ and ‘holding on to life.’
The men reflected that their well being was threatened by reduced sense of the future, feelings of isolation and of uncertainty. Despite these feelings the men all pursued their well being by managing their emotions, striving for the future while also enjoying life in the present. They also reported that taking care of their families and renegotiating their purpose for living enhanced their feeling of wellbeing.
The men also reflected a personal preference for taking action and problem solving in all parts of their life. Their sense of purpose, social connectedness, and life engagement were revealed as concepts central to improving their wellbeing, despite their advanced prostate cancer.
This study is important because it adds evidenced based support for the increased use of psychological interventions such as cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness in men with advanced prostate. It also points to areas which practitioners could explore with men to help them improve their feelings of well being.
Psychol Health., Levy A, Cartwright T. 2015 May 15:1-19. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2015.1040016
Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.