A Heideggerian hermeneutic study of the meaning of living with prostate cancer
Vasconcelos, Rosana Eteia
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Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand men and the second highest cause of male deaths. This Heideggerian study explores the experience of six men, with prostate cancer: five of whom were approximately five months post a robotic prostatectomy and one man post brachytherapy. The purpose of the study is to understand and describe the meaning men attach to the disease using a hermeneutic existential phenomenological approach to research. Four themes emerged from the interviews: 1) Disappointment, 2) Being-a-man, 3) Sense of Control, and 4) Life-Threatening Disease. The findings of the study suggest men's identities changed due to the side effects of treatments, the need of a sense of control to deal with the disease, and the importance of understanding prostate cancer as a potentially life-threatening disease within the Heideggerian concept of "being-towards-death". Using this concept future research was also identified. The outcomes of the study suggest implications for health professionals in promoting existential care to the men by listening and taking into account their concerns.