There was an interesting study done at the Department of Primary Care, Höglandssjukhuset, Nässjö, Sweden and the Department of Urology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital/SU Sahlgrenska, Gothenburg, Sweden.

The study attempted to understand how men who are newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer are affected by fatigue before the side effects of any treatment has an impact on them.

The study only involved ten men (a very small study) who were newly diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and still at an early stage in their treatment. All ten men were interviewed for the study with the interviews being analyzed using Gadamer’s hermeneutics.

None of the men in the study experienced fatigue specifically because they had been diagnosed for advanced prostate cancer. However, three topics were identified by the men during the analysis and interpretations of the interviews. They were awareness of mortality, the influence on their emotions and the influence on their normal life which was caused by the diagnosis. These three issue areas topics seemed to offer a structure for the men going forward. The major theme surrounded the need to get back to as normal a life as possible, albeit with a new perspective. The issues confirmed an affected life situation, which in turn helped the participants to form a new perspective on life.

In summary the study confirmed that advanced prostate cancer affects men’s lives: they are placed in a new life situation, against their will, and in their new situation they form a new life perspective. Healthcare professionals need to evaluate, perceive and furthermore understand the men’s apprehensions and expectations, on an individual basis, for their future and empower them to formulate a new life perspective.

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2009 Jun 15. Epub ahead of print.
PubMed Abstract

Certainly, I too can identify with coming to grips with this diagnosis. I certainly wished and still wish for my life to re-gain a level of normalcy. I certainly live my life differently today than I did prior to the diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer.

The way I approach my family, my interactions with them have changed. I make it a special point to tell them. each time I see them that I love them. I am certainly a kinder soul, although I do confess to sometimes becoming more easily irritated with non family members when they do stupid little things like J walking. And of course I have developed the new passion of helping my cancer brothers and their families weather this storm called prostate cancer.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW