Studies have shown that men tend to neglect matters relating to their health. Men
also suffer from health related conditions like cancer and yet men are generally more
likely than women to ignore health related matters, or are reluctant to visit health
care facilities like clinics and hospitals to seek medical assistance until symptoms
become very pronounced. Cancer is one of the major killers both in developed and
developing countries, including South Africa. Recent statistics indicate that black
men are at increased risk of prostate cancer and often develop an aggressive type of
prostate cancer (CANSA, n.d.:14).
Living with prostate cancer is a huge challenge for black men, because is a health
condition that is accompanied by life-threatening experiences which include
psychological, physical, social and biological challenges. The perception that
prostate cancer is relatively rare among black men is incorrect, as the condition
means a dramatic change of a man s life and puts a huge burden on their partners. It
continues to present with several enduring challenges that continue to defy solution
despite extensive research.
Several studies of prostate cancer have been conducted worldwide, so literature on
men with prostate cancer is extensive. Despite this there are still gaps, such as experiences of black men with prostate cancer in South Africa. It is therefore the
researcher s conviction that specific research on black men living with prostate
cancer in the South African context is scarce.
The goal of this study was to explore and describe the bio-psychosocial experiences
of black men living with prostate cancer. The researcher conducted the study using a
qualitative approach, with face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with 10 black men
from the Pretoria Urology Hospital. The researcher used purposive sampling to
select the participants.
The study findings revealed that experiences of black men with prostate cancer are
more serious than expected. The aftermath of this condition is characterised by
various elements such as fear, stigma, shame, loneliness, status, loss, pain,
embarrassment, non-disclosure, cultural barriers, patriarchy, as well as
communication barriers with significant others about their real feelings. The issue of
communication with their partners about the impact of the condition on their sexual
life appeared to be a serious concern with most of the participants. Furthermore,
prostate cancer is still perceived as a very personal matter that is kept secret among
black men. In addition, lack of support groups as well as failure to utilise the
resources because of non-disclosure and a feeling of embarrassment among black
men is still a huge problem. The study concludes that living with prostate cancer as a
black man is characterised by a complex combination of social, cultural,
psychological, biological and physical challenges, which continue to have an impact
in the lives of black men.
Recommendations from the study include encouraging black men to participate in
voluntary screening, and intensifying the campaigns to deal with the issue of cultural
beliefs and lifestyles, as well as the value of early diagnosis. Comprehensive
prostate cancer education to address the lack of knowledge and emphasise the
resources available for the survivors is also recommended. Furthermore, future
research on the following issues is recommended: firstly challenges encountered by
partners of black men living with prostate cancer and, secondly, how the cultural
practices of the current era impact the health decisions of black men.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2016.