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Although our goal was not to sample stratified by race or sexual orientation, we caution saturation was not reached across race or sexual orientation and have not made explicit comparisons of differences in by these factors. Moreover, we note that our study design does not facilitate direct comparisons to the dominant literature of men in heterosexual relationships; however, we speculate and show how our work fits within the findings of this previous work.

Not all interviews explored the experiences of social support to the same depth, which resulted in some sparsity in the data; this is particularly true of emotional support, as that domain was not explicitly focused on in interviews. Phone interviews also may have limited the emotional depth of the interview compared to in-person interviews where establishing rapport is easier. We recruited from one online forum; results may have differed if recruitment were in person or from multiple online venues. These weaknesses notwithstanding, this study has many strengths. As the first published study of support persons, it breaks new ground.

With 30 interviews, it is the largest qualitative study of social support for GBMPCa to date, and the first with sufficient subgroups of men who underwent surgery, radiation, or other treatment to enable comparative analysis.

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The provision of support by parents, siblings and friends contrasted with the existing literature of social support for men with prostate cancer. Much of the qualitative studies of support for men with prostate cancer focus on spouses, the vast majority of whom are wives.

In contrast to the dominant literature, only one mentioned adult children. GBMPCa reported feeling free to talk about the sexual and continence challenges with their friends in a way they reported not sharing with family. Additional support resources tailored for and directed to GBMPCa seem highly relevant and in high demand. In particular for this analysis, the expressed wish for or use of support groups ideally in person for other gay men with prostate cancer was noted. Clinicians should take into account the more varied support network GBMPCa may have, specifically the central role of friends and other family.

An avenue for future research would be to test how social support is associated with differences in PCa outcomes between GBMPCa and other men. Or it goes unmet.


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Additional qualitative and quantitative research is needed on prostate cancer in gay and bisexual men. Such research needs to conceptualize social support networks broadly and inclusively, and should focus on the relationship between social support and patient outcomes. This study was conducted with funding from the National Cancer Institute grant number: CA; PI: National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

Author manuscript; available in PMC Nov 1.

Caregiving and Social Support for Gay and Bisexual Men with Prostate Cancer

Benjamin D. William G. Simon Rosser. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer.


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Corresponding Author: Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article.

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Abstract Objective Prostate cancer, the second most common cancer among men, typically onsets in middle or older age. Methods This study used qualitative data from in-depth, semi-structured, one-on-one telephone interviews with 30 GBMPCa recruited from a national cancer support group network, Malecare. Results GBMPCa reported help from friends, family parents, siblings , ex-partners, and paid caregivers.

Conclusions GBMPCa received variable, but generally low, social support during diagnosis and treatment and from a diverse social network, including a prominence of friends and family. Background Prostate cancer PCa is the second most common cancer among men,[ 1 ] and, like other cancers, typically requires extensive social support.

Methods This study used a qualitative design—specifically, one-on-one telephone interviews—and was oriented by a thematic analysis[ 26 ] The study was approved by the University of Minnesota Institutional Review Board S Open in a separate window. Data Collection After a series of demographic questions collected by online survey, the semi-structured interviews covered several domains along the timeline of diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

Data Analysis Data analysis was informed by thematic analysis approaches[ 26 ]. Social support across the treatment timeline Unmet needs A number of men who did not have access to a gay support group, locally, reported wanting it. Social Network for Support Before Treatment Help from others in their social networks ranged from very involved to uninvolved.

Social Support During Treatment Instrumental support During treatment, men undertaking radiation and other treatments reported little instrumental support and less than to men with surgery.

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Support Network for Instrumental Support Most of the partnered men who had surgery got instrumental caregiving from their partners. Emotional support Emotional support represented the next most common component of social support during treatment. Strengths and Weaknesses Although our goal was not to sample stratified by race or sexual orientation, we caution saturation was not reached across race or sexual orientation and have not made explicit comparisons of differences in by these factors.

Acknowledgments Sponsors: References 1. Cancer statistics, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Paterson C, et al. What is the mechanism effect that links social support to coping and psychological outcome within individuals affected by prostate cancer?

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Real time data collection using mobile technology. Eur J Oncol Nurs. Exploring the relationship between coping, social support and health-related quality of life for prostate cancer survivors: Benedict C, et al. Positive and negative mood in men with advanced prostate cancer undergoing androgen deprivation therapy: Colloca G, Colloca P. J Cancer Educ. Blank TO. Gay men and prostate cancer: J Clin Oncol. Quinn GP, et al. The effects of attachment and outness on illness adjustment among gay men with prostate cancer.

Compton DLR. The Family and Gay Men and Lesbians. Baumle AK, editor. International Handbook on the Demography of Sexuality.

Springer; New York: Feinberg L, et al. Insight on the Issues. Valuing the Invaluable: NAC , N. Caregiving in the US, Patterson CJ. Family Relationships of Lesbians and Gay Men. Journal of Marriage and Family. Oswald RF. Resilience within the family networks of lesbians and gay men: Intentionality and redefinition. Jan M, et al. The roles of stress and social support in prostate cancer mortality.

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Scand J Urol. Kroenke CH, et al. Social networks, social support, and survival after breast cancer diagnosis. Measuring social support: J Behav Med. Berkman LF. Social Work in Health Care. Social integration, social networks, social support and health.

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Berkman LF, Kawachi I, editors. Social epidemiology. House JS, et al. Measures and concepts of social support. Syme SCSL, editor. Social support and health. Cohen S. Social relationships and health. Am Psychol. Voerman B, et al.

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