How Has Your Life Changed After Your Prostate Cancer Diagnosis?
The focus and the meaning my life changed following my prostate cancer diagnosis almost 11 years ago. And I believe that most us survivors have experienced similar changes and have stories to tell that might help the men following in our footsteps.
In my decade of prostate cancer survivorship, I’ve read hundreds of articles and studies on prostate cancer, but almost all of them focused on the statistical aspects of prostate cancer, not how prostate cancer impacts peoples lives.
Our Opportunity to Tell Our Stories
I was recently contacted by Carol Brady, a Doctoral Candidate at Walden University who is undertaking a research study to understand the changes that take place in our lives.
If you would like to be part of this important study, you can contact Ms. Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read Ms. Brady’s proposal below. I hope you’ll join up!
Here’s Ms. Brady’s Proposal to Us
Though there has been substantial research on meaning in life in general, and a small number of studies have explored meaning making in cancer patients and survivors, the literature has focused almost exclusively on either women or other types of cancer such as breast and lung cancer. Research on meaning in life in prostate cancer survivors is limited and most studies have looked more at the numbers than the deeper issues around the disease such as meaning and life satisfaction.
When looking for studies looking into the deeper issues concerning meaning in life, very few could be located that addressed this subject with regard to prostate cancer survivors especially examining their experiences over the periods of time before diagnosis, during treatment, and as a survivor. No studies have actually asked survivors what their definition of meaning in life actually is nor asked about their experiences. This study is intended to fill this gap in the research.
I believe that understanding how prostate cancer survivors construct meaning from their experiences can, in theory, aid clinicians and others in developing more effective interventions to help individuals cope with their initial diagnosis, especially when the issues of survival and death tend to overshadow their lives.
As the only researcher on this study, I am interested in the experiences, feelings, beliefs, and meanings and how they have changed over time. The issues surrounding meaning in life are important, and when addressed, can help an individual create a more fulfilled life and improve life satisfaction overall.
Over time, philosophy, psychology, and psychiatry have contemplated, studied, and researched the construct of meaning in life.
Many researchers have given much speculation to clarify what factors are included in the construct and what specifically affects and influences each individual’s sense of meaning in life (Cohen & Cairns, 2012). It has been suggested that all human beings have an innate sense that there is “
something more” to life than just the trappings of material success (Firestone, Firestone, & Catlett, 2003).
However, no researcher has actually constructed a definition for meaning in life from the definitions of the participants of the study; most researchers construct a definition they believe is accurate and then ask their participants to verify it.
Meaning in life research came to the psychological stage when Viktor Frankl (1997), a prisoner of the Nazis during World War II and later the father of logotherapy, gave considerable thought to the concept of meaning in life, attempting to understand how only some prisoners appeared able to find meaning in their experiences in the camps.
Frankl (1997) concluded that meaning in life is an individual experience, differing from person to person, day to day, and sometimes even hour to hour. Frankl’s (1997) experiences in the concentration camps led to the belief that meaning in life is found outside the person in the world rather than inside the mind.
When people became other-centered rather than self-focused, they created meaning for their lives (Frankl, 1997). Frankl also suggests that human beings are meaning-seeking creatures and cannot pursue a goal such as happiness by itself but instead must pursue the things in life that ultimately bring happiness (Frankl, 1997).
The study that I am doing for my doctoral dissertation is endeavoring to study the deeper issues with prostate cancer survivors.
Study Participation Criteria . . .– Prostate cancer survivors 65 or under
-Have been in remission at least 1yr
– Speak and write English fluently
– Have a private computer
– Have a private email address
– and are comfortable writing about your experiences with cancer.
Please consider being a participant in this study. Your contribution will help to define meaning in life for prostate cancer survivors and will be deeply appreciated by me.
Here is my contact information, please email me at: email@example.com
Cohen, K., & Cairns, D. (2012). Is searching for meaning in life associated with reduced subjective well-being. Confirmation and possible moderators. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 313–331.
Firestone, R. W., Firestone, L. A., & Catlett, J. (2003). A vision of a meaningful life. In R. W. Firestone, L. A. Firestone, & J. Catlett (Eds.), Creating a life of meaning and compassion: The wisdom of psychotherapy (pp. 15–34). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10611-001Frankl
Frankl, V. E. (1997). Man’s search for meaning. New York, NY: Washington Street Press.
IRB Approval # 01-30-14-0230953