1 Syddansk Forskningscenter for Klinisk Sygepleje (SFKS), Department of Clinical Research, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU2 Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU3 Urological Department, Institute of Regional Health Research, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU4 Department of Clinical Research, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU5 Sygehus Lillebælt6 Syddansk Forskningscenter for Klinisk Sygepleje (SFKS), Department of Clinical Research, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU7 Department of Clinical Research, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, SDU
Living with incurable prostate cancer - The wifes perspective Bruun P.1, Pedersen B.D.1, Osther P.J.2, Wagner L.1 1University of Southern Denmark, Research Unit of Nursing, Institute of Clinical Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, Odense, Denmark, 2Hospital Littlebelt,, Department of Urology, Fredericia, Denmark Introduction & Objectives: Prostate cancer accounted for 12% of all diagnosed cancers in Denmark during the period 1996-2000. The disease can be characterized as a chronic illness with a significant impact on both the patient and his family. Research in this field to date has predominantly focused on the man's experiences in coping with the disease while research concentrating on the family's experiences following the husband's/father's cancer diagnosis is lacking. The focus of this study is to analyze the daily experiences, shared through narratives, of wives with a husband suffering from prostate cancer. Material & Methods: Five wives of men diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer and referred to The Urological department of Hospital Littlebelt for treatment. The study assumes a phenomenological-hermeneutic approach, using Ricoeur's theories on narratives and text interpretation. Informants are interviewed three months after the husband/father is informed of his cancer diagnosis, and again after ten months. The interview guide contains open-ended questions that, for example, pinpoint the wife`s thoughts and actions during the husbands illness. Data analysis is done in three stages, namely a naïve analysis, followed by a more structured analysis, and concludes with critical interpretation and discussion. Results: The results of the analysis showed one main theme; coping with life and three sub-themes Aspects of loneliness Women experience different aspects of loneliness when their husband is diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer. A self-inflicted loneliness which can lead to isolation and over time to a state of complete prostration that makes it difficult to cope with life. A self-imposed loneliness which makes sense in the light of an obligation to care, but which does not make sense if it over time leads to the suppression or disregard of one's own needs. Informal care Informal care can over time be perceived as a dilemma because of an imbalance between taking care of the husband and taking care of oneself.Relationships The strength to cope with life through mutual love in the family and a strong faith is over time found in the relation. Conclusions: Wives of men diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer experience over time different ways of coping with life.