Faith Among Low-Income, African American/black Men Treated for Prostate Cancer

Published in: Cancer Nursing, v. 33, no. 6, Nov/Dec. 2010, p. 470-478

Posted on on January 01, 2010

by Sally L. Maliski, Sarah Connor, Lindsay Williams, Mark Litwin

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Background: Understanding how low-income, uninsured African American/black men use faith to cope with prostate cancer provides a foundation for the design of culturally appropriate interventions to assist underserved men cope with the disease and its treatment. Previous studies have shown spirituality to be a factor related to health and quality of life, but the process by which faith, as a promoter of action, supports coping merits exploration. Objective: Our purpose was to describe the use of faith by low-income, uninsured African American/black men in coping with prostate cancer and its treatment and adverse effects. Methods: We analyzed data from a qualitative study that used in-depth individual interviews involving 18 African American men ranging in ages from 53 to 81 years. Our analysis used grounded theory techniques. Results: Faith was used by African American men to overcome fear and shock engendered by their initial perceptions of cancer. Faith was placed in God, health care providers, self, and family. Men came to see their prostate cancer experience a new beginning that was achieved through purposeful acceptance or resignation. Conclusions: Faith was a motivator of and source for action. Faith empowered men to be active participants in their treatment and incorporate treatment outcomes into their lives meaningfully. Implication: By understanding faith as a source of empowerment for active participation in care, oncology nurses can use men's faith to facilitate reframing of cancer perceptions and to acknowledge the role of men's higher being as part of the team. Studies are needed to determine if this model is relevant across various beliefs and cultures.

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