Purpose/Objectives: To better understand the priority supportive care needs of men with advanced prostate cancer.
Research Approach: Qualitative, descriptive study.
Setting: Outpatient cancer center and urology clinics in central western Ontario, Canada.
Participants: 12 men with hormone-sensitive prostate cancer and 17 men with hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
Methodologic Approach: Patients participated in focus groups and interviews that examined their supportive care needs, their priority needs, and suggestions for improvements to the delivery of care. Tape-recorded focus group discussions and interviews were organized using NVivo software.
Main Research Variables: Patients' supportive care needs.
Findings: Participants identified prostate cancer-specific information and support to maintain their ability "to do what they want to do" as priority needs. Both hormone-sensitive and hormone-refractory groups cited problems with urinary function, the side effects of treatment, fatigue, and sexual concerns as major functional issues. Participants experienced emotional distress related to diagnosis and treatment.
Conclusions: A priority health need for men with advanced prostate cancer is to improve or maintain functional abilities. In addition, men require support to meet their stage-specific information needs and to address concerns about the diagnosis and ambivalent feelings about past treatment decisions.
Interpretation: Nurses could play an important role in addressing men's information needs and providing emotional support. The complex care needs of men with advanced prostate cancer provide opportunity for the development of advanced practice nurse roles that would use the clinical and nonclinical aspects of the role.