To describe how gender shapes the concerns and adaptations of long-term (> 5 years) colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors with ostomies.
Qualitative study using content analysis of focus group content.
Member of Kaiser Permanente, residing in either Oregon, Southwest Washington State, or Northern California.
Four female and four male focus groups selected from quantitative survey participants with health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores in the highest or lowest quartile.
Eight focus groups, discussed challenges of living with an ostomy. Content was recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using directive and summative content analysis.
Main Research Variables
HRQOL domains of physical, psychological, social and spiritual well being.
All groups reported avoiding foods that cause gas or rapid transit, and discussed how limiting the amount of food eaten controlled the output. All groups discussed physical activities, getting support from friends and family, and the importance of being resilient. Both genders identified challenges with sexuality/intimacy. Coping and adjustment difficulties were discussed by women with men only discussing these issues to a small extent. Difficulties with sleep were primarily identified by Low HRQOL women. Problems with body image and depression were discussed only by Low HRQOL women.
Common issues included diet management, physical activity, social support and sexuality. Women with low HRQOL discussed problems with depression, body image, and sleep.
Implications for Nursing
Application of these gender-based differences can inform educational interventions for CRC survivors with ostomies.