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Keywords:

  • prostate cancer;
  • cancer survivorship;
  • psychosocial;
  • sexual functioning;
  • African-Americans;
  • quality of life

Abstract

Objective: Focus on cancer survivorship and quality of life (QOL) is a growing priority. The aim of this study was to identify and describe the most salient psychosocial concerns related to sexual functioning among African-American (AA) prostate cancer survivors and their spouses.

Methods: Twelve AA prostate cancer survivors and their spouses participated in semi-structured individual interviews. The interviews assessed couples' experiences with psychosocial adjustment and sexual functioning posttreatment for localized prostate cancer. The data were analyzed using the constant comparison method and content analysis.

Results: In this qualitative study of couples surviving prostate cancer, there were divergent views between the male prostate cancer survivors and their female partners, particularly regarding sexual functioning. For the males, QOL issues emerged as the primary area of concern, whereas survival of their husbands was considered most important among the female spouses. The male respondents expressed unease with the sexual side effects of their cancer treatment, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual desire and satisfaction. Female spouses recognized decreased sexual desire in their partners following treatment, but this was not considered a primary concern.

Conclusions: Patients and their spouses may have differing perceptions regarding QOL and the impact of sexual functioning on survivorship. This study points to the need for further research and intervention development to address these domains with a goal to improve QOL. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.