Background/Aims: Quality of life plays a major role in prostate cancer research in relation to outcomes of treatment. Most studies conducted on patients with prostate cancer have used standardised psychometric instruments to evaluate the impact of treatment; few studies have taken an in-depth qualitative approach. There has been little consideration of the ways in which the prostate cancer experience impacts on daily life. The aim of this research was to understand the experience of prostate cancer survivors in relation to physical function and its impact on quality of life. Method: Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted using seven participants who ranged in age from 44 to 80 years. Participants had received varying prostate cancer treatments and were between 3 months and over 7 years post-diagnosis. Results: Three main themes emerged: loss of masculinity, loss of control over daily activities, and age-specific perspectives. Changes to physical function included impotence, incontinence, fatigue and lymphoedema. Losses were multifaceted, leading to changes in self-perception, reduced participation in daily activities and a decreased quality of life. Conclusion: The impact of prostate cancer and its treatment led to decreased quality of life and desire to live. Identified changes in physical function and psychological wellbeing in prostate cancer patients highlighted the significance of younger men with prostate cancer, and their experience.
International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation / Vol. 23, No. 7, pp.323-330