Self-perceptions of masculinities and testicular cancer: Qualitative explorations.

Masculinities have been explored in men with testicular cancer (TC), though limited contemporary research is available on traditional masculine norms important to masculine self-perception. The purpose of this research was to explore the discourse of TC experience in relation to masculine self-perception.

A qualitative descriptive study was conducted consisting of semi-structured interviews with 21 men. Men were aged between 31 and 47 (Mage = 35.7). Most men were diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer (66.6%), all men had finished active treatment and time since diagnosis ranged from 17.3 to 71.8 months (M = 47.2). Independent coding was conducted by two researchers and was refined in coding meetings with authors. Themes were developed in a predominantly deductive manner, and analysis of themes was undertaken using a reflexive analysis approach.

Traditional masculine norms showed differing relationships to masculine self-perception. Two main themes were identified [1] Maintained or enhanced masculine self-perception and [2] threats to masculine self-perception. Subthemes demonstrated that maintaining emotional control, strength and 'winning' was important to men, and reduced physical competencies (i.e., strength, sexual dysfunction, virility) challenged self-perception. Strict adherence to traditional norms in response to threatened self-perception related to psychological distress.

Leveraging traditionally masculine norms such as physical strength and control and developing flexible adaptations of masculinities should be encouraged with men with TC to retain self-perception and potentially enable better coping. Masculine self-perception of gay/bisexual men may centre around sexual functioning, though further research is required.

Psycho-oncology. 2024 Mar [Epub]

Victoria Dax, Maria Ftanou, Ben Tran, Jeremy Lewin, Darshini Ayton, Zac Seidler, Tania Wallace, Joshua F Wiley

School of Psychological Sciences and Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia., Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia., Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia., Health and Social Care Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia., Orygen, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.