Presentation Authors: Caterina Gentili*, Stuart McClean, Lucy Hackshaw-McGeagh, Amit Bahl, Raj Persad, Diana Harcourt, Bristol, United Kingdom
Introduction: Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) is a well-established treatment for prostate cancer (PCa). ADT side effects can impact on body composition and functioning. Some patients might experience feelings of body feminization that can be detrimental to their body and appearance satisfaction. ADT side effects are well known, but only a limited amount of research explored their psychological impact on men&[prime]s body image. A potential strategy to counterbalance ADT side effects, promote mental health and reduce appearance-related concerns could be exercise. However, adherence to exercise recommendations is very low. Therefore, this qualitative exploratory study aimed to:&[middot]Explore the impact of ADT-induced appearance and functionality changes on patients&[prime] body image.&[middot]Investigate patients&[prime] attitudes towards exercise and potential exercise barriers.
Methods: We conducted 22 semi-structured interviews with PCa patients following ADT (Mage = 67.9 yo, SD = 9.99 ). The interviews touched upon ADT-induced bodily changes, body image issues, and exercise. Each interview lasted around 45 minutes, was audio-recorded and transcribed word-by-word. Thematic content analysis was conducted with NVivo.
Results: We extracted 4 main themes and 14 sub-themes. 1) Body Image concept. For some patients body image concerns represented either a novel topic or a problem they never felt able to talk about. Body image was also often conceived as &[Prime]what other people can see&[Prime] rather than one&[prime]s judging of his own body.2) Bodily changes. Participants expressed appearance dissatisfaction focusing on body feminization. In particular, breasts enlargement, weight gain, functionality loss, and sexual issues had an impact on their sense of masculinity. 3) Exercise benefits. Participants reported to exercise to counterbalance ADT side effects, weight gain in particular. Moreover, exercise gave them a sense of achievement and control over their bodies despite cancer, and a renovated sense of physical self-efficacy. 4) Exercise barriers. Participants reported time management and fatigue as main exercise barriers. Moreover, they expressed the concern to be judged for their physical appearance and performance when exercising in groups.
Conclusions: These findings highlight not only the need to further investigate body image concerns and exercise barriers in PCa patients undergoing ADT, but also underline the necessity to provide information and support for those PCa patients who might be struggling with body image issues.
Source of Funding: This project is funded by the charity Above and Beyond, Bristol (UK)