The Experiences of Men Living With Untreated Prostate Cancer (PCa) in Papua New Guinea
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Prostate cancer (PCa) is a major public health concern worldwide. Many low resource nations in the Pacific region have rapidly increasing incidence and prevalence rates of untreated PCa. Globally, in 2018 there were 18.1 million men diagnosed with PCa and mortality was recorded at 9.6 million. In PNG, the incidence rate is 245 and mortality is 190 (8.3%) out of 2,300 deaths from cancer. The purpose of this study was to elicit and explore Papua New Guinea (PNG) men’s experiences of living with PCa in the peri-urban areas of Port Moresby from a psycho-social and cultural standpoint, in order to devise options to improve men’s health care service delivery. Focused ethnography was used as the methodology. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 12 men living with untreated PCa in Port Moresby. A review of available documents from online databases relating to statistics and experiences of men with PCa was also undertaken. A thematic analysis of the data was conducted to identify themes developed from the codes, and to extract subthemes to validate major themes and develop a thematic map. The themes that emerged from data analysis included; unrealistic expectations of treatment on untreated PCa, long waits, poor communication, poor service delivery, lived experience and treatment, men’s self-stigma and denial, the stoicism of PNG men, superstitious beliefs about cancer and use of folk treatments. Recommendations made in this thesis are based on descriptive data obtained from participants in relation to their shared experiences of living with untreated prostate cancer. These recommendations are health education and awareness in the community, medical education in the health institutions on health literacy, education, and awareness. There is a need for greater involvement and participation of men in Family Health Services and a need to embark on men’s only health services as a pilot project in PNG.