Dismantling the present and future threats of testicular cancer: a grounded theory of positive and negative adjustment trajectories.
Matheson L., Boulton M., Lavender V., Protheroe A., Brand S., Wanat M., Watson E.
PURPOSE: Testicular cancer commonly affects men in the prime of their lives. While survival rates are excellent, little previous research has examined men's experiences of adjustment to survivorship. We aimed to explore this issue in younger testicular cancer survivors. METHODS: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with testicular cancer survivors over two time points approximately 6 months apart in the year following treatment completion. Interviews were analysed using a grounded theory approach. RESULTS: The sample included 18 testicular cancer survivors between 22 and 44 years (mean age 34). A grounded theory was developed, which explained the process of positive adjustment over the first year following the treatment completion in terms of men's ability to dismantle the present and future threats of cancer, involving the key transitions of gaining a sense of perspective and striving to get on with life and restore normality. These were facilitated by six key processes. The processes that explained a negative adjustment trajectory are also presented. CONCLUSIONS: These findings contribute to the understanding of the psychosocial impact of testicular cancer on younger men's lives and have implications for the provision of support to testicular cancer survivors. Further investigation into the feasibility of one-on-one peer support interventions is warranted, as well as informal support that respects men's desire for independence. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Understanding the processes involved in adjustment highlights ways in which health professionals can offer support to those struggling to adjust through challenging illness beliefs, encouraging emotional disclosure and facilitating peer mentoring.