Rural farmers' experience in living with prostate cancer following diagnosis and treatment
Gronvold, Darren Philip
In Canada, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men. The incidence continues to rise. Although there is a growing empirical literature on the prostate cancer experience of men who live and work in urban areas, little is known about the experience of men who live and work in rural settings where access to treatment and support may present unique challenges. The purpose of this qualitative research was to explore the experiences of men diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer who live and work (farm) in rural Saskatchewan. Using a Naturalistic Inquiry approach and methods of Grounded Theory Analysis, six participants were recruited through a physician’s office, advertisements, and cancer support groups, and interviewed. The interview data were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed. Data analysis revealed five common themes: farming and rural life, physical and emotional concerns, sexuality, masculinity, thoughtfulness and reflection, helping others and being helped. There was no evidence of rural isolation or concern with travelling to the cities for treatment. Depression and anxiety were not reported as major concerns. Participants explained that while continuing to farm helped them cope, fatigue reduced their ability to farm and increasingly they relied on help from family and neighbours. Participants experienced a sense of urinary urgency and/or incontinence following treatment and managed their daily activities to lesson the impact. All were impotent following treatment. They coped with loss of sexual function through a renewed life perspective or use of medication to restore sexual function. Traditional masculine behaviours can be a barrier to health screening for men with prostate cancer. Participants used their prostate cancer experience to engage in activities of new learning, new meaning, and new perspectives and to educate and support other men with prostate cancer. This study highlights the need for further research on the health experiences of farmers and other rural men, and to uncover the variety of masculine and behavioural responses with respect to men’s health issues. Although the range of health issues may be similar from one man to another, it is important for health care providers to understand individual differences.
DegreeMaster of Nursing (M.N.)
DepartmentCollege of Nursing
ProgramCollege of Nursing
SupervisorSemchuk, Karen M.
CommitteeWright, Karen; Robinson, Sam; Morgan, Debra; Leis, Anne; Laing, Gail
Copyright DateJanuary 2004