Understanding male cancer patients' barriers to participating in cancer rehabilitation

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DOI

The aim was to describe male cancer survivors' barriers towards participation in cancer rehabilitation as a means to guiding future targeted men's cancer rehabilitation. Symbolic Interactionism along with the interpretive descriptive methodology guided the study of 35 male cancer survivors representing seven cancer types. Data were generated through a 5-month fieldwork study comprising participant observations, semi-structured individual interviews and informal conversations. The analyses revealed two overarching findings shedding light on male cancer survivors' barriers to rehabilitation: ‘Fear of losing control’ and ‘Striving for normality’. While ‘Fear of losing control’ signified what the men believed rehabilitation would invoke: ‘Reduced manliness’, ‘Sympathy and dependency’ and ‘Confrontation with death’, ‘Striving for normality’ was based on what the men believed rehabilitation would hinder: ‘Autonomy and purpose’, ‘Solidarity and fellowship’ and ‘Forget and move on’. This study of male cancer survivors' and cancer rehabilitation documents how masculine ideals may constitute barriers for participation in rehabilitation and provides insights about why men are underrepresented in rehabilitation. The findings can guide practice to develop research-based rehabilitation approaches focused on preserving control and normality. Further empirical evidence is needed to: (1) explore the conduct of health professionals' towards male cancer patients and (2) address gender inequalities in cancer rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Care Online
Volume24
Issue6
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
ISSN1365-2354
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

    Research areas

  • masculinities, male cancer survivorship, psychosocial cancer support, men and cancer rehabilitaton

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