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Exploring Cancer Support Needs for Older African-American Men with Prostate Cancer

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore cancer support and financial issues related to cancer care experienced by African-American men with prostate cancer and to understand whom they relied on for resource issues during diagnosis and treatment.

METHODS: This is a descriptive qualitative study of 23 rural and urban 65 years old and older African-American prostate cancer survivors. Five focus groups were conducted containing African-American prostate cancer survivors who were recruited from community-based centers (e.g., churches, barbershops, diners, and primary care clinics) in central Virginia and Maryland. Focus group discussions were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded. Data were organized and managed using a qualitative analysis software program. Emerging themes uncovered specific problems for older rural African-American men with cancer, and focus group data were examined for potential solutions to these problems.

RESULTS: Two common themes emerged: (1) family and physician support are important, and (2) insurance is a necessity for appropriate health care. A difference between rural and urban African-American prostate cancer survivors emerged as well: difference in spirituality during diagnosis and treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Rural and urban African-American prostate cancer survivors' major support resource was their wives. Health insurance played a critical role as a support source by decreasing anxiety and financial hardships. Understanding rural and urban African-American prostate cancer survivors' support needs and challenges in relation to cancer diagnosis and treatment will allow nurses and other health-care providers to tailor cancer health plans more effectively for this population.