The healthcare experience of prostate cancer patients: exploring the intersection of age and gender

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Louis Braverman

Abstract

Although researchers have conducted extensive studies of the psychoso­cial impacts of prostate cancer and its treatment on men’s bodies, mascu­linity and sexuality, little attention has been devoted to the intersection of gender and age in the healthcare experience of this illness. Based on data collected through direct observation in four French public hospitals, and 65 semi-directive interviews with prostate cancer patients, their relatives and healthcare professionals, this article aims to examine how age and gender shape care pathways. We argue that combining the concept of hegemonic masculinity with an intersectional approach may provide an adequate theoretical framework for analysing the plurality of men’s pros­tate cancer healthcare experience. Four steps of the patient care process are successively analysed to assess how the patient experience of illness may be influenced by power relations that interact with individual charac­teristics: screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care.

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