Uncertainty After Treatment for Prostate Cancer: Definition, Assessment, and Management

Wellam F. Yu Ko

Lesley F. Degner

CJON 2008, 12(5), 749-755. DOI: 10.1188/08.CJON.749-755

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men living in the United States and the most common type of malignancy in Canadian men, accounting for 186,320 new cases in the United States and 24,700 in Canada in 2008. Uncertainty, a component of all illness experiences, influences how men perceive the processes of treatment and adaptation. The Reconceptualized Uncertainty in Illness Theory explains the chronic nature of uncertainty in cancer survivorship by describing a shift from an emergent acute phase of uncertainty in survivors to a new level of ncertainty that is no longer acute and becomes a part of daily life. Proper assessment of certainty and uncertainty may allow nurses to maximize the effectiveness of patient-provider communication, cognitive reframing, and problem-solving interventions to reduce uncertainty after cancer treatment.

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