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Research has shown that meaning in life is a universal human need, regardless of cultural identity or education. This research study investigated how the encounter with prostate cancer impacted men's sense of well-being and what they considered meaningful in life. An interpretative phenomenological research design was used because of its descriptive nature and its focus on the individual's perspective. The sample included 6 men between the ages of 18 and 65 who had been out of treatment for 1 year. Participants completed essays about their perceptions and experiences over 3 periods of time: before diagnosis, during treatment, and as survivors. The analysis concentrated on exploring participants' perceptions; identifying themes, commonalities and discrepancies in the data; and drawing comparisons between participants' definitions for meaning in life with the meaning making model of Park and Folkman. Study results addressed issues including a lack of information about side effects and the depth of the mental and emotional toll taken not only on the patients but also on people around them. Social change implications include the importance of (a) educating men with prostate cancer about the mental and physical health challenges they may face as they undergo treatment; (b) encouraging them to reach out for support (including professional services) should they encounter psychological difficulties over the course of dealing with their illness; and, (c) providing them with opportunities to speak about the mental, emotional, physical, and relational challenges they have faced and may still be facing in their lives as a consequence of the disease and its associated treatments.
Brady, Carol Lynn, "The Impact of Prostate Cancer on Survivors' Sense of Meaning in Life" (2014). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 52.