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Living Experiences of Male Spouses of Patients with Metastatic Cancer in Taiwan

  • Lin, Hui-Chen (School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences) ;
  • Lin, Wen-Chuan (School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences) ;
  • Lee, Tzu-Ying (School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences) ;
  • Lin, Hung-Ru (School of Nursing, National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences)
  • Published : 2013.01.31

Abstract

Background: Cancer is the leading cause of death in Taiwan. Spouses are generally the main caregivers of affectyed patients but previous studies have seldom investigated the needs of male spouses of patients with metastatic cancer. Purpose: To explore the lived experiences of such male spouses. Methods: A qualitative design using in-depth interviewswasconducted with male spouses of patients with metastatic cancer being treated at the oncology outpatient department in a teaching hospital in northern Taiwan. Results: Nine participants aged 31-78 were interviewed. Content analysis of the interviews revealed five themes: suffering and struggling, difficulty in focusing on communication and interaction, shouldering responsibility, cherishing the love between husband and wife, and enabling each other to live better. This study demonstrated how male spousse experienced physical and psychological suffering when their wives suffered from metastatic cancer. They had to bear the pain of their wife's suffering, and also had to shoulder the responsibility for everything. All their efforts were put towards enabling each other to live a better life. They cherished the rest of the time they could spend with their wives, even though they had to live a hard life. As the male spouses of patients with metastatic cancer, the participants exhibited both the masculinity of men and the ability to express care and tenderness. Conclusions: The results showed that male spouses need more attention in terms of communication and bearing with suffering. Health care professionals should more actively understand the needs and provide assistance when facing the male spouse of patients with cancer, so as make sure that they possess the ability to take care of their wives. Health care professionals should also assist and properly act as a bridge of communication between husbands and wives.

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