‘You know I've joined your club… I'm the hot flush boy’: a qualitative exploration of hot flushes and night sweats in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer
Hot flushes and night sweats are common amongst menopausal women, and psychological interventions for managing these symptoms have recently been developed for women. However, flushes in men with prostate cancer, which commonly occur following androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), remain under-researched. This study is a qualitative exploration of flush-related cognitive appraisals and behavioural reactions reported by a sample of these men.
Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 19 men who were experiencing flushes after receiving ADT for prostate cancer. Framework analysis was used to generate and categorise emergent themes and explore associations between themes.
Five main cognitive appraisals included the following: changes in oneself, impact on masculinity, embarrassment/social-evaluative concerns, perceived control and acceptance/adjustment. There were men who held beliefs about the impact of flushes on their perceptions of traditional gender roles, who experienced shame and embarrassment due to concerns about the salience of flushes and perceptions by others and who experienced feelings of powerlessness over flushes. Powerlessness was associated with beliefs about the potentially fatal consequences of discontinuing treatment. Two other dominant themes included awareness/knowledge about flushes and management strategies. Experiences of flushes appeared to be influenced by upbringing and general experiences of prostate cancer and ADT.
The range of men's appraisals of, and reactions to, flushes generated from this qualitative exploration were broadly similar to those of menopausal women but differed in terms of the influence of masculinity beliefs. These findings could be used to inform future research and psychological interventions in this under-researched field. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.