• Engaging men with penile cancer in qualitative research: reflections from an interview-based study

      Witty, K.; Branney, Peter; Bullen, K.; White, A.; Evans, J.; Eardley, I. (2014-01)
      Aim To explore the challenges of engaging men with penile cancer in qualitative interview research. Background Qualitative interviewing offers an ideal tool for exploring men’s experiences of illness, complementing and providing context to gendered health inequalities identified in epidemiological research on men. But conducting interviews with men can be challenging and embarking on a qualitative interview study with males can feel like a daunting task, given the limited amount of practical, gender-sensitive guidance for researchers. Reflecting on a researcher’s experience of conducting qualitative research on men with penile cancer, this paper explores the potential challenges of interviewing this group, but also documents how engagement and data collection were achieved. Review methods This is a reflective paper, informed by the experiences of a male researcher (KW) with no nurse training, who conducted 28 interviews with men who had been treated for penile cancer. The researcher’s experiences are reported in chronological order, from the methodological challenges of recruitment to those of conducting the interview. Implications for practice/research The paper offers a resource for the novice researcher, highlighting some advantages and disadvantages of conducting qualitative interview research as a nurse researcher, as well as recommendations on how to overcome challenges. Conclusion Engaging men with penile cancer in qualitative interview raises practical, methodological, ethical and emotional challenges for the researcher. However, when these challenges are met, men will talk about their health. Methodological procedures must enable an open and ongoing dialogue with clinical gatekeepers and potential participants to promote engagement. Support from colleagues is essential for any interviewer, no matter how experienced the researcher is.
    • Masculinities, humour and care for penile cancer: a qualitative study

      Branney, Peter; Witty, K.; Braybrook, D.; Bullen, K.; White, A.; Eardley, I. (2014-09)
      Aim: To explore how men with penile cancer construct humour in relation to their diagnosis and treatment. Background: Functionalist, relief and incongruity theories attempt to account for humour but there is a dearth of empirical evidence in nursing care. This is particularly so in relation to a condition like penile cancer where some nurses think that humour in their interactions with patients would be inappropriate. Design: The study employed a participative, mixed-qualitative-methods design. Method: Focus groups and patient-conducted interviews were both used during a one-day ‘pilot workshop’ in March 2011. The data were initially analysed using framework analysis. This paper explores the theme of humour in depth. Findings: Humour helped participants make light of their condition, which meant that they could laugh about the consequences of treatment (‘laughing about urination’) and build rapport with health professionals (‘humour with health professionals’). Nevertheless, the use of humour was less important than the treatment of their cancer (‘humour discounted’) and there was a fear that they would be subject to ridicule because of their condition (‘fear of ridicule’). Conclusion: The findings suggest a combination of functionalist, relief and incongruity theories of humour; the emotions these men experience are contained (functionalist) and released (relief) through humorous interaction, and the potential for comedy lies in an incongruity between what is expected socially and the experiences of these men, for example around expectations that men use urinals in public toilets. Nurses should continue to use humour to build rapport with patients, should they judge this to be appropriate although they may want to avoid jokes about sexual and urinary functioning until after treatment.
    • Mortality and sexuality after diagnosis of penile cancer: a participative study

      Branney, Peter; Witty, K.; Braybrook, D.; Bullen, K.; White, A.; Eardley, I. (2016-11)
      Survival for penile cancer is high but treatment can have a long-term detrimental effect on urological function and quality of life. Owing to its rarity, it is difficult to include men with penile cancer in research about their condition.The aim of this study was to identify aspects of their diagnosis and treatment that they would want explored in penile cancer research. The study employed a participative, mixed qualitative methods design; it utilized focus groups and patient-conducted interviews, combined into a 1 day ‘pilot workshop’. The data were analysed using framework analysis. ‘Early signs and seeking help’, ‘disclosure of a ‘personal’ cancer’ and ‘urological (dys)function’ emerged as three key themes. Men with penile cancer want research about their condition to explore early signs and helping seeking, disclosure of a ‘personal’ cancer and urological (dys)function. Research could use methodologies that include consideration of the chronological narrative of the experiences of men with penile cancer, which could be applied in clinical practice by integrating opportunities to explore specific aspects of their experiences at appropriate times along the care pathway.
    • Psychology, men and cancer

      Branney, Peter; Witty, K.; Eardley, I. (2014-06)
      A disease of the anatomical or social body, cancer raises fears about the uncontrollable division and multiplication of some abnormality that will lead ultimately to the destruction of those very conditions that make possible our lives. Cancer incidence and mortality rates are higher in men than women, raising questions about the roles for psychologists in relation to gender and cancer. Psychologists are wont to question the division of population level statistics by sex rather than other, such as behavioural, categories. Conceptual distinctions between biological sex and psychosocial gender are taught early in the psychology curriculum, but cancer of the breast questions the easy separation of the biological body and psychosocial society.